Probiotics – good for the gut & the brain

by Julie O’Connell-Seamer
The gut-mind connection is a well known interplay that impacts our immunity, mental health, digestion & overall resilience to life’s stressors.
The Pub Med. article link below has many insights on this topic- most notably on probiotics and how they provide a neuroprotective role. Some refer to this as their ‘pscyhobiotic’ action.
As noted, in a 30-day study healthy volunteers with no previous depressive symptoms were given either probiotics or antidepressants. Those given probiotics showed reduced cortisol levels and improved self-reported psychological effects- to a similar degree as participants administered Diazepam, a commonly used anti-anxiety medication. A clearly positive and heartening outcome.
Another study highlights that even with treatment via multiple antidepressants (each with different methods of action), roughly 20% of patients do not show any reduction of anxiety or depressive symptoms. And yet, many human and animal studies of probiotics show significant reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms with probiotic treatment alone, highlighting the benefits of improving our gut microbiome via this method, for flow-on effects to our brain and mood.
For those already on anti-depressants there are evident benefits from concomitant use of probiotics, with your medication. The dysbiosis created by the prescribed medications, or perhaps resulting from the neurological disturbance itself, may be mitigated by the introduction of beneficial gut flora in a probiotic form. In other words there is a win-win possible whereby your probiotic can help allay any possible side-effects on the gut and therefore make you feel better, potentially supporting the script.
It is important and possible now to obtain probiotic strains that are specific for your unique needs. This is different than past decades where we saw broad spectrum probiotics as the only option. While one strain might help resolve constipation, for instance, another might be more useful for skin inflammations, or leaky gut syndrome and diarrhoea.
Ask me for more details and I can provide the data that relates to your symptoms and goals 🙂

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