The Correlation between Gut Bacteria and Toddler Behavior

There is a great deal of advertisement aimed at informing individuals about various types of intestinal and digestion issues as well as ways to combat them. A team of Ohio State University researchers performed a scientific study of children ranging from 18 months to 27 months of age.

Toddler Temper Tantrum

Toddler Temper Tantrum

The team revealed a strong correlation between gastrointestinal bacteria and toddler behavior. A high level correlation was most predominantly seen in boys. The scientists then considered other factors such as diet, breastfeeding, and child birthing methods because these are also know to impact toddler behavior. They still found that certain types of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract impacted behavior.

Diet and Behavior

This study was conducted to try to pinpoint the beginnings of certain disorders such as asthma; bowel disease; allergies; and obesity. It is being done in hopes that they will discover clues which could prevent chronic disorders like these. It is strongly believed and evidence suggests that the interaction of stress hormones and gut bacteria plays an integral role in the development of such diseases.

Michael Bailey, PhD, who is a microbiologist, Christian, and study co-author, studied samples taken from 77 different children’s stools. Both male and females stool samples were examined. Bailey’s study revealed that those who exhibited positive behaviors such as curiosity, ability to successfully socialize, and impulsivity have a high level of genetically diverse forms of digestive bacteria. It is not yet clear if the outgoing children have fewer stress hormones or if the bacteria actually assists in mitigating the incitement of stress hormones. In either case, many experts agree that a relationship exists, but are not sure which initiates said relationship.

The relationship between behavior and gut bacteria was less noticeable in girls than boys. It was also much less constant. It does still exists to a noticeable and measurable degree. The lower the level of diversity of the gut bacteria the smaller the degree of focused attention and self-reliance girls seem to demonstrate. The greater the abundance of certain types of microbes, such as Rikenellaceae, the more anxiety girls seemed to experience. Within the boys, this study revealed that an abundance of certain bacteria also correlates with personality traits considered extroverted.

Applying Knowledge

The scientists of this study state that a great deal more research must be performed in order to better understand what role gut microbes play in toddler temperament. This particular study was not in consideration of diet; however, all of these experts agree that it must play a pivotal role. These findings open many avenues of thought including the impact of a natural diet on the future health of toddlers upon reaching adulthood.

A healthy and proper balance is thought to impact the development of future disease. It is now being carefully considered whether it also impacts personality traits and behavior. This could provide great insight into behavioral modification therapies as well. It seems obvious that consuming natural and healthy diet creates happier and healthier individuals because it can assist in balancing the mind, body, and spirit.

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