Is The Dirt In Your Garden Increasing Your IQ?

Is The Dirt In Your Garden Increasing Your IQ?

by Victoria Simpson

Feel like eating dirt? Not a bad idea-it could increase your focus and make you smarter.

Studies have a shown that exposure to a common, harmless bacteria present in garden soil can increase learning ability and decrease stress.

An article published in New Scientist documents how Dorothy Matthews of the Sage Colleges in New York State fed white bread laced with a bit of Mycobacterium vaccae and peanut butter to mice.

Those mice ingesting bits of earth were twice as fast at getting through a maze when compared with those who didn’t come in contact with the bacteria.


Matthews concluded two things from this. She found that mice ingesting the bacteria benefitted from an increased ability to learn in a new environment, and that soil had a calming effect, as the bacteria-eating rodents “showed less behavior that indicates anxiety, such as grooming and searching.”

The benefits of being fed Mycobacterium vaccae lasted for about four weeks.

Whether or not humans will experience the same benefits from eating soil as the mice did, remains open.

There’s probably no immediate need to bring your fork and spoon out when digging the weeds but it’s good to know that when your kids do a face plant off their skateboard into the daffodils that it might not be all bad-especially if their mouth is open.

Mycobacterium has been researched for several decades as a potential cure for both physical and neurological problems such as anxiety, panic and eating disorders and schizophrenia.

A patent published on Sep. 11, 2003 by Graham Rook, Christopher Lowry and Stafford Lightman also concluded that Mycobacterium activates certain pathways in the brain associated with stress-related pathology.

So, maybe ditch the yoga mat…and bring on the mud pies.





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