Welcome to the probiotic series where we talk about the benefits of probiotics beyond your gut health. These little wonders, packed with good bacteria, can also help with your mood and stress relief- bet you haven’t heard that one before! Genome Medicine includes a 2016 research study about the potential use of probiotics in stress related psychiatric disorders (1).
Gut Microbiome & Your Brain
The “brain-gut microbiota axis” refers to the connection between the complex ecosystem of microbiota in your body and your brain physiology. Though the connection needs more research to be completely understood, researchers have discovered that the brain needs the gut microbiome to function properly. The article states, “ Fundamental brain processes such as myelination, adult neurogenesis and microglia activation have also shown to be critically dependent on microbiota composition” (1). They also acknowledge that animals without a gut microbiome failed to have normal brain development in several studies.
Stress & microbes
Microbiota and the stress response are linked through the immune system, as well as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. According to this research study, depressed patients were showing elevated cortisol levels and corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) (1). Scientists began to question if introducing certain strains of good bacteria could alter the stress response in the body and relieve symptoms of depression.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: A 2011 study saw a correlation between reduced anxiety in animals from the ingestion of this probiotic (2)
- Bifidobacterium longum: weakens stress responses and improved cognition in healthy subjects (1)
Not all probiotics are created equally. Oral probiotics should contain Lactobacilli, as well as bifidobacterium in order to improve mood (1). BINTO probiotics contain all of the previously stated strains of good bacteria, along with others specifically used for gut, vaginal, and skin health (they’re also shelf-stable!)
A Note on Prebiotics:
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. A probiotic is virtually ineffective if it doesn’t have a prebiotic included.