Does food make us happy if we have a sufficient amount of a specific bacterial strain in our gut? This is the question science writer Rainer Kurlemann sets out in his contribution “What the gut flora achieves” for the “Stuttgarter Zeitung”. Without providing a final answer, we can definitely state that food and digestion, pleasures or pains of eating, ideal weight or overweight are undoubtedly connected to the occurrence of specific bacteria in the gut. Kurlemann, too, refers to the findings of scientists who already discovered a series of vitamins and hormones discharged by gut bacteria as products of their metabolism. The author even lists the “happiness hormone” dopamine among them.
How exactly these bacterial processes work in the gut and which parameters we would have to tweak to achieve a positive effect remains in many regards still unclear. The scientific community continues its search into the causes of the microflora’s negative impacts. In his article, Rainer Kurlemann mentions a possible wrong mixture of organisms on the mucosas. Some mixtures are suspected of triggering diseases, among them depression, rheumatism, obesity, diabetes, or inflammation of the gut. “They could all be caused by an impaired interaction between man and bacteria.”
On the other hand, however, the fact that some bacteria play an important role in digestion has been widely recognised and in some cases been proven. The diversity of bacteria (microbiome) “releases semiochemicals for other parts of the body and supports our immune system”.