Surprisingly enough, through research conducted in the California Institute of Technology, it was discovered that EC cells depend on Microbes found in the gut to produce Serotonin. EC Cell stands for Enterochromaffin Cell, and they can typically and easily be found in the small intestine, colon and appendix. They are shaped like polygons or cones. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, with defects related to diseases ranging from Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular Disease, and even depression. According to Merriam Webster, a famous online dictionary, Microbes are microorganisms and “germs”. This oversimplified understanding of the significance of a microbe is representative of the overall population’s ignorance on the matter. Bacterium are forms of Microbes, and thus have very negative connotations. That is why this discovery regarding the correlation between the germs in EC cells and Serotonin (a neurotransmitter we can attribute much of our good mood) levels is so important.
To begin with, the peripheral Serotonin levels in mice with standard EC cells, and peripheral Serotonin levels in mice with microbe/bacteria/germ free cells were tested and compared. Astonishingly, the mice with standard EC cells had 60% higher levels of Serotonin than mice with germ free EC cells. The newly tested levels of Serotonin were affirmed by the side effects typically associated with increased levels of Serotonin. For example, the mouse’s gastrointestinal motility would increase overtime if their EC cells were unaltered, as opposed to if their EC cells were germ-free. Overall, it is safe to conclude that having Bacteria in the gut can actually make someone less depressed, and healthier all in all.