(NaturalHealth365) Two recent studies have linked taking probiotics for a healthier gut microbiome with reduced symptoms of depression. Both the University of Virginia School of Medicine and McMaster University have found that consuming the friendly bacteria causes a natural antidepressant effect.
Wouldn’t it be great if every psychiatrist and psychologist read this news?
Lactobacillus bacteria (in particular) was found to reverse depressive behavior in mice. The researchers determined that it did so by altering their gut microbiome – which refers to the population of friendly microorganisms in the intestines.
They are particularly excited about these results because probiotics have no (negative) side effects, as many prescription antidepressants tend to have.
Important NEWS about probiotics: Low levels of Lactobacillus bacteria should be avoided to preserve emotional wellbeing
The results also point to the role diet plays in mood as well as overall physical health. Research from 2014 linked friendly gut bacteria with reduced stress and anxiety in human adults.
Conversely, low levels of Lactobacillus bacteria has been associated with symptoms of depression in mice.
Simply put: stress seems to lead to the loss of Lactobacillus in the gut – which in turn paves the way for the symptoms of depression. Lactobacillus levels in the gut microbiome also influence kynurenine levels, a blood metabolite associated with the onset of depression and suicide.
When Lactobacillus levels fall kynurenine levels increase, leading to a higher risk of depression.
However, Lactobacillus supplementation reverses the symptoms of depression. Stressed mice receiving Lactobacillus – daily – for three weeks were no longer depressed. The researchers believe inflammation in the brain might also play a role in depression.
The connection between probiotics, IBS, depression and the gut microbiome
Another study out of McMaster University Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute linked probiotics and improvement in symptoms of depression as well as gastrointestinal upset.
The research looked at adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and found they reported improvements from both their gastrointestinal issues and depression from a specific probiotic versus those taking a placebo.
Keep in mind, IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder – worldwide. It is characterized by abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and altered bowel habits. It is also often accompanied by depression.
Bifidobacterium longum eases symptoms of IBS and depression
For the study, 44 adults with mild to moderate anxiety or depression and IBS were followed for 10 weeks. Half of the group took Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 probiotic daily, while the other half took a placebo.
After six weeks, 64 percent of those taking the probiotic showed reduced depression markers versus 32 percent from the placebo group. An MRI scan showed improvements in various brain areas associated with mood and emotional control.
Believe it or not, this research was supported by Nestle company researchers and the results were published in the Gastroenterology medical journal.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the gut microbiome is foundational to many areas of health and wellness. In addition to its role in immune system functioning and digestive health, the environment of the gut seems to be in direct communication with the brain.
Probiotics offer a non-toxic way of overcoming the unwanted consequences of depression.
Editor’s note: To learn more about the health benefits of probiotics – visit our NaturalHealth365 Store today!
Sources for this article include:
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