Mycobacterium Vaccae in Dirt Is Good for You

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According to some scientists, dirt is good for you.

Gardeners have touted the benefits of their hobby for centuries, and only within the last few years has science caught up. Scientific evidence proves that digging in the dirt is good for you.

About 10 years ago, a discovery gave credence to the theory that the good bacteria in dirt — namely Mycobacterium vaccae — acts similarly to an antidepressant when breathed in by humans. Further study with mice proved the notion. A recent article in The Atlantic has again brought the 2007 mice study to the public’s attention.

Playing in the dirt, whether it be in your vegetable garden, romping in a playground or hiking through the woods, helps the human brain release more serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, metabolism, aggression, sleep and appetite.