New studies found that simply playing in the dirt has similar effects on the brain as Prozac.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a bacterium found in soil that stimulates seratonin, making you feel more relaxed and happy.
The production of seratonin, or lack thereof, has been linked to many different problems including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, agression and OCD.
This bacteria has proven to be a natural antidepressant and has absolutely no adverse side effects.
These microbes in the soil are also being studied for helping cognitive function, arthritis and Crohn's disease.
The bacteria causes cytokine levels to rise in the brain, thereby increasing levels of seratonin.
Particularly, it activates the interfascicular part of the dorsal raphe nucleus. C-Fos was measured in these areas, the biochemical marker showing that neurons fired that release seratonin.
Instead of reducing the brains ability to inactivate seratonin, like MAO's or slowing down the reuptake process, like SSRI's, these microbes simply increase seratonin production.
This was tested by injection and ingestion of rats and cancer patients and proven effective.
Simply eating or inhaling it can get the microbes into your body. Which happens naturally if you are gardening or foraging.
The natural effects of these microbes can be felt for up to three weeks.
Hike barefoot, garden, play in the dirt!