Study Establishes The Influence Of Gut Microbiome Modulation On Social Behavior

Study Establishes The Influence Of Gut Microbiome Modulation On Social Behavior – Research indicates that consuming pro- and prebiotics can enhance people’s sensitivity to fairness, leading them to prioritize equitable treatment over financial gain. This study, conducted by Hilke Plassmann and her team, involved 51 participants who took a supplement rich in Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for seven weeks, while another 50 participants served as controls, receiving placebos. Participants engaged in the “ultimatum game” before and after the supplement intake, revealing that those who consumed the pro- and prebiotics were more inclined to reject unfair offers, especially those offering 30%-40% of the total amount. This behavior, termed “altruistic punishment,” reflects a willingness to forego personal benefit to uphold principles of fairness.

The study found that individuals with a higher initial ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes bacteria in their gut exhibited the most significant changes in both gut composition and altruistic punishment rates following the supplement intake. Additionally, the supplements led to decreased plasma levels of tyrosine, a precursor to dopamine, in some participants. Those experiencing this decrease showed the most notable increase in altruistic punishment, suggesting a link between gut microbiome changes, neurotransmitter levels, and social behavior.

These findings suggest that modifying the gut microbiome through dietary interventions like pro- and prebiotics can shift individuals’ behavioral priorities towards greater consideration of social fairness, even at the expense of immediate financial rewards. This research opens up new avenues for exploring the gut-brain connection and its influence on human decision-making and social interactions.

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Social Behaviors That Are Influenced By The Gut Microbiome

Study Establishes The Influence Of Gut Microbiome Modulation On Social Behavior
Study Establishes The Influence Of Gut Microbiome Modulation On Social Behavior

The gut microbiome has been shown to influence several social behaviors in animals:

Social orienting behavior in zebrafish larvae is impacted by the gut microbiome during early development. Zebrafish raised without microbiota showed deficits in social orienting behavior compared to those with a normal microbiome.

Dominance vs submissiveness in mice is determined by the gut microbiome composition. The microbiome also induces metabolic and inflammatory changes in the adipose tissue of mice.

Sociability in mice is increased by bacterial transplantation from specific pathogen-free to germ-free mice. Social defeat stress, which leads to anxiety and depression, is correlated with changes in gut microbiome diversity and specific bacterial genera.

Social interaction and investigation behaviors in mice are modulated by microbiome-brain-immune interactions. The gut microbiome likely functions as an integrator across physiological systems to influence social behaviors.

Activation of stress response neurons in the hypothalamus by the microbiome regulates social behaviors in male mice. Specific gut bacteria like Enterococcus faecalis can promote social activity and reduce stress responses.

In summary, the gut microbiome has been found to shape social behaviors like sociability, social dominance, social investigation, and social orienting in various animal models. The mechanisms involve modulation of brain regions, stress responses, and immune function by gut microbes. Source [1]

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