Bacterial Balance for a Better Mood
Feeling a little bit down for one reason or another? Does the change of the seasons this time of year leave you feeling blue? Say hello to “nutritional psychiatry”: a health field appearing as new evidence emerges. A recent study review shows that a beneficial bacterial balance in the gut microbiome fueled by prebiotics or probiotics can positively influence the brain, causing mood improvement. Our gut is tied to just about everything within our bodies, including that of the central nervous system. So when everything in the stomach and intestines begins to align, we start to see incredible changes.
This review of seven clinical anxiety and/or depression studies included people over 18 who have one or more strains of probiotics, and/or prebiotics in their diet. While the studies varied in length and design, all of them concluded probiotics alone or combined with prebiotics appear to measurably reduce depression, regardless of severity. Additionally, they found they do not increase anxiety.
There Is Such a Thing As Good Bacteria
Your gut is lined with trillions of bacteria that play an important role in many facets of health. The most common probiotics showing positive results for an improved mood in these studies are from the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common types of probiotics available to us. It is responsible for producing lactic acid which may prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing in the intestines. On the other hand, bifidobacterium helps to aid in digestion and fends off bad bacteria. You can find lactobacillus and bifidobacterium in fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi, or with a probiotic supplement.
To Mood Improvement and Beyond
Adding these to your daily routine goes further beyond a better mood. Discussing the findings, doctors said those with anxiety or depression often have underlying metabolic conditions. One of these being irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and that probiotics may have a twofold benefit: directly improving anxiety/depression, and also improving such underlying conditions as IBS.