When our toddlers act up, we generally put it down to the ‘terrible twos’, but a study is suggesting tantrums are actually linked to bacteria in the gut.
According to Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, there is a correlation between intestinal bacteria and the temperament of toddlers.
For the study, researchers asked mothers of tots between the 18 and 27 months to fill out a questionnaire which measure 18 emotional traits, while scientists looked at the genetic types and quantity of bacteria in the toddler’s stools, and their diets.
And they found that certain bacteria affects behaviour, particularly in that of boys. Kids with the most genetically diverse kinds of bacteria in the gut were found to be more extroverted and impulsive.
“There is definitely communication between bacteria in the gut and the brain, but we don't know which one starts the conversation,” says Dr. Bailey, a researcher with Nationwide Children's Hospital and a member of Ohio State's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.
“Maybe kids who are more outgoing have fewer stress hormones impacting their gut than shy kids. Or maybe the bacteria are helping mitigate the production of stress hormones when the child encounters something new. It could be a combination of both.”