Fight Depression – Play in the Dirt
In a culture that serves up a pill for just about everything under the sun, sometimes we overlook the basic things in life that have always made us happy, since childhood. When we were kids, we were often covered in dirt! Playing outside, building forts, digging in the ground, playing sports – we were dirty and happy! Well, there might be more to that than just the joy of innocence, play and youthful abandon. Scientists have discovered that soil microbes have a similar effect on the brain as compared to leading antidepressant medications, minus the harmful side effects often accompanied with medication.
This natural antidepressant found in soil is known as mycobacterium vaccae, and its full profile is currently undergoing rigorous studies, and so far data indicate that its effects on neurons mirror the effects of Prozac, a commonly prescribed antidepressant (it may also help anxiety). This bacterium, which is present in dirt, is thought to stimulate the production of serotonin, and serotonin is known to create feelings of relaxation and happiness. Cancer patients participated in studies, and they reported improved quality of life and reduced stress.
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, and the inclusion of the soil-based bacterium appears to serve as a natural antidepressant without adverse side effects. What is great is that tapping into the healing and mood lifting benefits of these soil-based antidepressant microbes may just require playing in the dirt.
Maybe gardeners have been harnessing a natural happiness secret since the beginning of time. Many will tell you that working in the garden halps them reduce stress and lifts their mood. Now, there is some science to back up the validity of happy dirt-it’s not just all about floppy hats and cozy gloves. Likely there are many happy gardeners reading this right now with a grand lack of surprise, but no doubt they are pleased to know that there is a scientific reason behind the love of their calming hobby.
How does dirt make you happy? According to research: “Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group.” In practice, it was reported: “Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication.”
But wait… that’s not all! Antidepressant soil microbes: Mycrobacterium are also being researched to validate usefulness in increasing cognitive functioning, rheumatoid arthritis and even Crohn’s disease and. But, no matter the end results of these studies, so far science has confirmed that dirt can help make you happy, so go play in the dirt!
Note: Do not stop taking antidepressants without consulting your physician. In addition, if you try natural remedies and do not see improvement, please consult your physician for additional care and advise.