Wisdom comes with experience. As we grow and learn in our lives, we begin to cultivate wisdom. Whether we study a particular topic or endure the throes of a harsh emotional experience, we often emerge from the challenge wiser.
Logic suggests that wisdom solely emerges from the cognitive regions of the brain. However, we know now that the brain and gut are intimately connected through the “gut-brain axis”, and that gut health can directly impact areas of the brain associated with wisdom.
Wisdom and loneliness also share a relationship. Wiser individuals are less prone to feel lonely, and those with more social ties often possess a more diverse biome of bacteria, viruses, and fungi than those who experience loneliness. Loneliness also increases inflammation, which in turn impacts gut health.
Research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry explored these associations by taking fecal samples from 187 participants. They found that increased microbial diversity correlated to lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of wisdom.
While there are many psychological and lifestyle variables involved, these findings suggest that the way in which we eat and care for our gut could drastically impact our mental health.