Although we typically believe that friendships are excellent for our mental health, research has revealed that they can also be helpful for our physical wellbeing.
A group of monkeys were evaluated by the research team, and they discovered that the social monkeys had better guts and more helpful microorganisms in their systems. A healthy gut can contribute to an overall healthier physique and improved psychological wellbeing, according to earlier studies.
Researchers discovered that the social monkeys’ beneficial bacteria had extraordinary anti-inflammatory characteristics and a better immune system. Additionally, the monkeys’ microbiota—a collection of microorganisms—was less hazardous.
Streptococcus, a pneumonia-causing microbe, was more prevalent in monkeys that were kept in isolation. The research reported in Frontiers in Microbiology demonstrates how small creatures can have an impact on large, complex multicellular organisms.
In a press release, lead author Dr. Katerina Johnson, a research associate at the Department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Oxford, states, “Here we show that more sociable monkeys have a higher abundance of beneficial gut bacteria, and a lower abundance of potentially disease-causing bacteria.
Off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, on the island of Cayo Santiago, researchers observed a troop of monkeys. The sample included 16 females and 22 males who were all older than six.
The researchers examined 50 samples of faeces from the rhesus macaque social group. Scientists monitored them while they engaged in various activities, such as grooming one another, to gauge how social they were.
Grooming serves as a good indicator of social interactions because macaques are highly social creatures and grooming is their primary method of establishing and maintaining relationships, according to co-author Dr. Karli Watson from the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
According to co-author Dr. Philip Burnet, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, “Engagement in social interactions was positively related to the abundance of certain gut microbes with beneficial immunological functions, and negatively related to the abundance of potentially pathogenic members of the microbiota.”