Loneliness and wisdom – is it all in your gut?
Mental health studies have shown that people who are wiser are less likely to be lonely, and vice versa. Now new research suggests the connection may be in the gut microbiome – people with a greater diversity of gut microbes are less likely to be lonely.
Researchers at the University of California looked at 197 people aged between 28 and 97, comparing measures of loneliness, wisdom, compassion, social support and social engagement with analysis of their gut bacteria.
They found that greater diversity and richness of the gut microbiome were linked with higher levels of social support and engagement, compassion and wisdom, and lower levels of loneliness.
The researchers say that the subject is complex and more research is required in order to understand the mechanisms involved. They theorise that loneliness may lead to changes in the gut microbiome, or perhaps that changes in gut bacteria may predispose people to become lonely.
At PIM we have a particular interest in the gut microbiome and its many connections to our health and wellbeing. Contact us to learn more.