The Science Behind Soil + Serotonin

The Science Behind Soil + Serotonin

Did you know that interacting with soil can put you in a better mood, help your body sleep, and your digestion? All thanks to a friendly bacteria known as Mycobacterium vaccae, which lives in the soil around us. Reinforcing the powerful connection between humans and nature, this organism triggers serotonin production, making us healthier + happier humans.  


All that's needed for you to reap these benefits is to spend time around soil. This serotonin boost happens when you're close enough to breathe in the bacteria through the air or absorb it through the skin. Anytime you've had a picnic in the grass or repotted your plants, you've called upon this "happy hormone" to boost your mood. 


How Does Serotonin Impact Your Wellbeing?

Serotonin is a big deal when it comes to mental and physical health. This hormone lives in the gut and brain, carried out into the bloodstream. It supports the production of other chemicals as well, like melatonin. Both of these play a crucial role in sleep quality, directly impacting mood, immunity, and health. Serotonin also partners with dopamine, responsible for our feelings of pleasure and motivation. 


Given that over 90% of serotonin exists in our GI tract, the hormone is important in digestion and cleaning out the body’s waste. Recent studies are revealing more and more that what we eat directly affects our mood, even finding connections to symptoms of depression. As processed foods, sugars, and chemicals increasingly find their way into daily life, serotonin will continue to play a key part in the maintenance of our physical wellbeing.   


What Else Can The Outdoors Do For You?

The power of soil is no surprise alongside the other benefits of outdoor time. Mental clarity, a relaxed nervous system, and reduced anxiety are all rewards of basking in natural spaces. Many studies show that time in green spaces improves our cognitive functions. All the "brain fog", mental blocks, and exhaustion you feel can actually be repaired when you zone out outside. 


In modern times, many of us are disconnected from nature, living fast-paced lives in developed areas and cities. When we're deprived of access to natural spaces, there's a risk of suffering for generations. For residents and children of metropolitan cities, these spaces provide safety, temperature control, social gatherings, and of course, mental relief for everyone in the community. In a 2022 survey we released to our customers, 92% of respondents reported that spending time in nature had positively improved their mental health, a significant number in any field. We believe everyone should have access to green space, or at least create such a space in their homes. 


As a way to honor yourself, Earth, and your wellbeing, we encourage you to ground yourself in nature by getting your hands in the soil and breathing in the fresh air as often as you can. 


Need Some Inspiration?

Find comfort in knowing that you can support your body and mind by connecting with the living earth around you. Whether it's an accessible spot in your neighborhood or a planned trip, here are some easy ways to receive all the benefits of nature:

  • Volunteer at a community garden
  • Repot your plants
  • Have a picnic and sit in the grass 
  • Go camping 
  • Find a hike or state park in your region
  • Incorporate whole foods and plants in your diet 
  • Locals, join us for Grounded Hike Club! A community event to explore local trails in the DMV area.