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The more scientists look into gut health, the more benefits about probiotics are uncovered, with new research suggesting that probiotics may also be central to our mental health.

This data supports the existence of the gut-brain axis, which is the communication between your gut and brain. Since this is considered a two-way form of communication, a disruption in your intestine can affect the health of your mind, and a disruption in your brain health can hurt your gut.

So, how does your gut health link to your mental health?

As many of us now know, our gastrointestinal systems have naturally occurring bacteria – also known as gut flora or microbiota – that help regulate your internal systems. These “good” bacteria peacefully coexist with your body’s immune system in a symbiotic relationship; assisting with the breaking down of fats, proteins and certain vitamins. It can also help your body break down certain medications, provide a layer of defence against infection, and help your immune system function optimally by actually protecting you against harmful strains of bacteria.

Unfortunately, certain things like antibiotics or inflammatory bowel diseases can harm these vital bacteria. As it turns out, so can mental health issues like depression and anxiety which cause stress and inflammation; creating a poor environment for gut microbiota.

How probiotics can help

Several studies that have examined probiotics in mental health show that they may have benefits for depressed and anxious patients, with diets rich in gut-friendly foods leading to improved cognitive, emotional, physical, and digestive well-being. Further, when comparing probiotics to mental health medications, probiotics do not carry the same potential risks and side effects.

One eight-week, randomised study of 40 participants with a major depressive disorder (MDD) revealed that patients who received a probiotic supplement experienced a significant decrease in depression when compared to those who took the placebo. (1) While another scientific review stated that probiotics showed efficacy in improving psychiatric disorder-related behaviours including anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory. (2)

As they are studied further – and as we understand more about the roles of good gut bacteria in depression – probiotics will likely become a more standard recommendation of all mental health professionals.

Nurture your gut-brain connection with self-care, plenty of water, adequate sleep, fermented foods and a probiotic like Releaf Probiotic Melt 12-Strain, which contains a combination of 12 probiotic strains that may assist with the improvement of the microbial balance in the human intestines and thereby the functioning of the digestive tract. Research shows that probiotics positively affect the modification of the gut microbiota, competitive adherence to the mucosa and epithelium, strengthening of the gut epithelial barrier and modulation of the immune system. (3)

 

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* this article should not be taken as medical advice, and for any specific medical questions, your personal physician should be consulted.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26706022

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27413138

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23037511

Content from:

Mindbodygreen.com