Are Probiotics the New Antidepressant?
Feeling stressed? Anxious? Psychobiotics may be your natural fix! Probiotics, beneficial bugs that can balance your gut bacteria, are showing promising research results in stress relief and mood.
The brain-gut connection is not new news, but historically, research has focused on the brain-to-belly connection. For example, in a well-balanced body, the brain signals to your tummy, when it senses hunger and fullness. Stressed out? Your brain may be sending mixed signals.
However, new research is focusing on the belly-to-brain highway. In one study, the subjects who took a combination of probiotics, for just 30 days, saw a reduction in depression and anxiety!
Your Brain on Psychobiotics
Jane Foster, Ph.D. associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences, explains that gut bacteria influences our brain starting at infancy. Bacteria is crucial for brain growth and may impact our brain regions that respond and manage stress. As an adult, our gut bacteria constantly communicates with our brain. Most likely via the vagus nerve, which runs from our brain stem to our digestive tract. It is believed that certain bacteria stimulate the nerve to regulate neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that impact our thoughts and feelings.
Cortisol (indent as the following are brain chemicals)
Cortisol, a brain chemical known as the “stress hormone”, is often elevated in people suffering from major depression. It appears that good gut bacteria is correlated with lowering cortisol levels.
Studies have shown that psychobiotics can spur the production of GABA, which releases a “feel-good”, calming vibe in the body.
Serotonin and Oxytocin
Some research suggests that probiotics tell the brain to produce and secrete serotonin and oxytocin, which makes you feel happy and relaxed.
Current Use of Psychobiotics
James Greenblatt, M.D., a psychiatrist and chief medical officer near Boston, has been treating psychiatric patients with probiotic therapy for 20 years! He says it is not a quick cure-all, but for his patients that have bad gut bacteria, they typically have improved mood in 30-60 days.
The Future of Bacteria Therapy
The future seems promising for the use of psychobiotics, and affirms that gut feelings are real. Greenblatt says, “probtioics are safe and microbiome is an important part of health“. Probiotic therapy may become more common, especially after taking a round of antibiotics, which wipe out good and bad gut bacteria.
While some foods are naturally rich in probiotics, it is impossible to know the actual dose you are getting. Professionals recommend taking a daily supplement to feel the possible better vibes that psychobiotics can nurture.
If you are in the market for a probiotic supplement, reach for a daily serving of VIBE. VIBE, a complete vegan meal replacement, contains a patented and proven probiotic, Ganaden BC-30. One scoop of VIBE packs a bug-punch of 1 billion CFU (colony forming units). Now that’s something to smile about!
This blog was inspired by Natural Health Magazine’s article, “Are Probiotics The New Antidepressant?”, featured in the March/April 2015 release.