A Little Dirt Doesn’t Hurt

Hope’s Harvest volunteers LOVE to get their hands dirty to help others but it turns out science says digging can improve our own health and mood as well! Recent studies done on M. Vaccae, a common bacteria found in soil’s microbiome suggests repeated exposure is correlated to improved physical and mental health. Another study published in the journal of neuroscience by C.A Lowry showed M. Vaccae stimulating the neurons in the brains of mice responsible for producing serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing. That’s right, a little dirt doesn’t hurt! M. Vaccae also stimulated neurons associated with immune system response. Both studies did not definitively support the theory that M. Vaccae boosts the immune system however, there are studies that suggest forms of M. Vaccae could function as immunotherapy. The Lowry study also showed that mice exposed to the M. Vaccae completed specialized tasks like mazes or puzzles faster than the controlled group suggesting higher cognitive function! I know what you’re thinking “give me whatever they’re having!” Well luckily, the M. Vaccae bacteria is found in the dirt all around you. So do your body and your mind a favor and sign up for this week’s gleaning trips with Hope’s Harvest and get a little dirty!

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