Biodiversity may benefit mental health by affecting gut bacteria

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New research in mice suggests that exposure to a biodiverse soil may improve mental health by raising levels of a bacterium with anxiety-relieving effects.

Intuitively, we know that living in excessively polluted, built-up areas cannot be good for our health and that breathing in the fresh air of natural spaces must be healthful.

But the impact of green spaces on overall health in general and on mental health, specifically, has been the subject of much recent research.

Older studiesTrusted Source have suggested that living near green spaces lowers death risk overall and the risk of dying from a cardiovascular condition in particular. A study that Medical News Today recently reported on found that spending 2 hours in nature yields benefits for a person’s general health and psychological well-being.

Another study published this year suggested that growing up in a green area may lower the risk of developing mental health issues by 55%.

But what explains these mental health benefits? New research points to an interesting microbial link between the health of a person’s ecosystem and their health that may explain the beneficial association between green spaces and human health.

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