Friends and Gut Health

Things are not as easy as they appear. Having a healthy gut biome may include keeping up with your social calendar. What does this mean? It means it probably helps your gut biome when you have health social interactions with other people or friends. According to Andrew Moeller, an integrative biologist and co-author of the study, people are more resistant to opportunistic infections. Germ swapping isn’t just a primate or “jungle thing”. We as humans are always swapping germs all the time.
This particular study focused on the interactions of 40 chimpanzees in Tanzania. They monitored the gut health of the chimps by testing their fecal samples. What they found was when chimps were more social the microbiomes began to look similar. One would assume that the gut makeup or microbiome would be similar just because they were sharing the same foods. It’s not that simple. The chimps that were more social had a more diverse microbiome than the chimps that were less social. The findings are fascinating, but more study is going to be needed to see how humans gut microbiota reacts to social interactions.
My take on this is that we as humans need to pay attention to our social relationships. In taking care of our gut or even our overall health, it’s as important to have a social life and have meaningful relationships in one’s life. When I say significant relationships, I am talking about having friends and family members that care about your well-being. I would say it’s not enough to be married or being in a relationship. What matters is how healthy is that particular relationship. Or do you have friendships that matter to you? The more and more we study about our bodies the more I see how connected everything is and how important things like a healthy relationship is. Just some things to ponder when thinking about date night with your partner.

The study was published in journal Science Advances

Dr. Shah, MD