Which Foods Are Best For Your Microbiome
You can actually write your own prescription by choosing different fruits and vegetables for their specific health-promoting effects.
First, be sure to get macro-nutrients and micronutrients in your dietboth are needed for optimal physical and emotional well-being. In the vegetable department, there are some superstars. Kale, broccoli, spinach, beet greens, collards, and other green leafy vegetables are particularly nutrient-dense. Thats not necessarily a secret. But some of these can have a profound impact on the brain. Heres a closer look:
Top Brands For Probiotics That Help Anxiety
Taking probiotics is a growing trend, especially among teenagers who engage in sports. These are mostly recommended by their coaches to improve their digestion and athletic performance. However, probiotics are good for everyone since they help with immunity and mental wellbeing.
Recent studies have found that there is a gut-brain connection that can be accessed through probiotic supplements. Basically, these helpful bacteria replenish the flora inside our intestines and enhance the absorption of nutrients.
As a result, the body increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the antithesis of anxiety. There are plenty of supplement brands that are capitalising on this new research to sell probiotics as an anxiety-relief.
Here are the top brands for probiotics that will help you lower your anxiety:
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What Are Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics are not just found in meals. They are also available as capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. Although these supplements may not give the same nutrients as foods provide, they are simple to use.
Take medical advice if you believe it may be beneficial to you. If youre sick or have immune system issues, you should be cautious about taking probiotics.
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The Efficacy Safety And Tolerability Of Probiotics On Depression: Clinical Results From An Open
- 1Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
- 2Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Background: A growing body of research has shown that consumption of probiotics can improve symptoms associated with mood and anxiety disorders through activity of the gut-brain axis. However, the effects of probiotics have yet to be tested in a clinical sample of treatment-naïve patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder . The aim of this 8-week, open-label pilot study is to examine changes in depressive symptoms before and after the introduction of a probiotic supplement in 10 treatment-naïve MDD patients and to provide data on the feasibility of conducting a larger double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in the same patient population. Here we report on the clinical outcome measures of the study.
Methods: Participants recruited from the community in Kingston, Ontario, Canada consumed a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 at a dose of 3 × 109 CFU once per day for 8 weeks. Clinical symptoms of depression were measured using a validated battery of clinical scales and self-report questionnaires . Data was collected at baseline, week 4, and week 8.
Current Treatment For Depression
According to the NIMH, a major depressive episode is defined as:
A period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.
is often different for each person because the symptoms and severity are different for everyone. Treatment may include a combination of the following:
- Support from groups, friends, and family members
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves learning to change thought patterns and actions to help manage symptoms
- Medications such as the use of antidepressants
Improving other areas of health and supporting overall well-being can also help treat depression. For example, utilizing relaxation techniques and exercise can benefit people with depression.
However, researchers are still working to understand how to best help people with depression, including using supplemental treatments.
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Probiotic Side Effects Include Less Stress And A Better Mood
When we talk about side effects, we normally look at the downsides, but some side effects are good! Here are probiotic side effects that you can feel good about.
Andrea at our sister site Vibrant Wellness Journal wrote a great piece on the health benefits of miso, a fermented food. She mentions sort of in passing that miso helps boost your mood, and that really caught my eye. What is it about miso thats mood-boosting? I wanted to check out the science.
And there is science to back up that claim! Preliminary research from University College Cork in Ireland found that probiotic foods can help fight depression and stress.
The article published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found that certain types of probiotics hold huge potential for fighting depression and other stress-related disorders. The authors are calling these probiotics psychobiotics. Review author Timothy Dinan and his colleagues looked at past studies on probiotics and probiotic foods and found a strong link between healthy gut bacteria and reduced stress and depression.
Does that mean that eating miso will cure depression? Probably not. But it does mean that ingesting these beneficial bacteria either through supplements or by eating probiotic foods has potential to boost your mood. It certainly cant hurt.
Getting The Good Bacteria
Whether you’re feeling emotionally challenged or not, increasing gut-friendly foods can be a boon for health, including blood sugar regulation and lowered inflammation, according to registered dietitian Michelle Routhenstein, RD, owner of nutritional counseling practice Entirely Nourished. Fermented foods are particularly good for this, including:
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Adding Probiotics To Your Life
If you are thinking about trying probiotics for mood support, here is a quick guide:
If you are unsure about adding in probiotics on your own and would like more individualized help from our clinic, please fill out our contact form. We would be happy to help you improve your health and wellness.
I hope this article has helped you learn more about how probiotics can help improve mental health, giving you another tool in your toolbox to better health and mental wellbeing.
Beyond Yogurt: Eating More Probiotic Foods
When you think of probiotic foods, you probably reach for a container of yogurt. Sure, yogurt contains probiotics, but its just one of the many probiotic foods on grocery shelves. And possibly not even the best one for our health.
Need some ways to get more probiotic foods into your diet? Weve got you. Andrea over at Vibrant Wellness Journal to help you make the most of this fermented food. Here at Eat Drink Better, I put together a list of the five best fermented foods and how to eat them. You can even add probiotics to your skincare routine!
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How Do You Ensure The Probiotics Are Working
Probiotic supplements have become one of the most popular supplements in recent years. Probiotics are food products that include some of the numerous good bacteria found in a healthy gut and can help rebalance and improve your gut flora.
Probiotics can aid with digestion, intestinal health, and general well-being. So, lets suppose you start taking a probiotic pill which we believe virtually everyone should how do you know its working?
Other Probiotic Side Effects
In general, probiotic side effects are positive, but there are a couple of rare cases where you should talk to a doctor before taking probiotics.
If you have short bowel syndrome, however, you may want to talk to your doctor before taking probiotics. Same goes for anyone suffering from immunodeficiency. There have been extremely rare cases of probiotics causing issues in people with weakened immune systems.
Beyond mood, there are other beneficial probiotic side effects. Dr. Weil outlines these beautifully in a short piece. He suggests probiotics for helping with ailments from diarrhea to irritable bowel syndrome to Crohns Disease.
Since negative probiotic side effects are so few and the potential benefits are so many, theres generally no harm in adding a supplement to your routine. You can also get more probiotics into your day by eating probiotic foods.
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The Vagus Nerve Connects Your Gut And Your Brain
Your gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve, a major component of the autonomic nervous system which enables you to breathe, digest food, and swallow automatically. This nerve is able to send messages to your brain for your colon, and vice versa.
The connection between the two organs means that the gut-brain axis is becoming a vital player in mental health, illnesses that affect the brain, and even irritable bowel syndrome . It explains why stress can take a toll on your digestion, but also why digestive problems can make you unhappy.
Magnolia & Other Mood
Several herbs can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms related to stress, including passionflower, lemon balm, valerian, and lavender. I am particularly fond of honokiol, a compound from magnolia bark , used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to promote relaxation and healthy digestion. Honokiol has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier for direct effects on the central nervous system.
Cinnamon is good for the tummy, soothing discomfort and improving digestion. It also has a positive impact on blood sugar, helping prevent the peaks and valleys that are so bad for our mental state.
For more on the gut-brain connection, read more here:
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Taking Probiotics For Mental Health
Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our bodies. These friendly bugs may improve mood and mental health, as well as physical wellbeing.
In fact, there are more bacteria in the human body than there are cells, with the majority residing in the digestive tract. Maintaining or boosting the amount and diversity of these bacteria could provide all sorts of physical benefits. For example, research has linked probiotics with better immune function, digestive health, urinary health, and heart health.
Interestingly, more and more research and anecdotal evidence suggests that having good levels of probiotics in the body also enhances mood and protects mental health. Probiotics that contribute to mental and cognitive wellbeing are referred to as psychobiotics.
There are many things you can do to boost your probiotic profile, including by making dietary and lifestyle changes. Taking probiotic supplements or eating fermented foods is another way to introduce more beneficial bacteria to your body.
Read on to learn more about probiotics and your mental health.
Which Probiotics Are Best For Stress And Mood
Scientists are still learning about the entire influence of different probiotic bacteria strains on human mood. Although research is ongoing in this area, it will most likely be some time before we have a list of the best probiotic strains to enhance mental health.
The probiotic strains that would undoubtedly warrant being at the top of any selection criteria for probiotics to enhance our mood and wellbeing, based on our current level of understanding and the clinical research data that we have accessible to us, include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 and Bifidobacteria longum Rosell-175
- Bifidobacteria longum 1714
- Lactobacillus casei Shirota
Other stress-relieving measures include maintaining a healthy gut environment and regulating the gut-brain axis. Getting plenty of fiber, including whole, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables in our diet, getting moderate daily activity, and staying hydrated all help us to feel less stressed and keep our gut, or second brain, healthy and happy.
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New Chapter Mood Support Probiotic
Enhance you well-being and reduce occasional anxiety with this powerful mood-boosting probiotic supplement. This is a pack of 30/60 vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO capsules that serve as a mood support.
The capsules are made of probiotics to replenish good bacteria, targeted herbs to uplift mood, and prebiotics that act as fuel. Herbs used in it are lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, and Jerusalem artichoke. The suggested use is one capsule daily for people above the age of 12. These can be taken even on an empty stomach.
Some Strains Can Increase Histamine Levels
Some bacterial strains used in probiotic supplements can produce histamine inside the digestive tract of humans .
Histamine is a molecule that is normally produced by your immune system when it detects a threat.
When histamine levels rise, blood vessels dilate to bring more blood to the affected area. The vessels also become more permeable so that immune cells can easily get into the relevant tissue to combat any pathogens .
This process creates redness and swelling in the affected area, and can also trigger allergy symptoms such as itching, watery eyes, runny nose or trouble breathing.
Normally, histamine that is produced in your digestive tract is naturally degraded by an enzyme called diamine oxidase . This enzyme inhibits histamine levels from rising enough to cause symptoms .
However, some people with histamine intolerance have trouble properly breaking down the histamine in their bodies, seeing as they do not produce enough DAO .
The excess histamine is then absorbed through the lining of the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream, causing symptoms similar to an allergic reaction (
Theoretically, they may want to select probiotic supplements that do not contain histamine-producing bacteria, but to date, there has been no research on this specific area.
Some histamine-producing probiotic strains include Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus hilgardii and Streptococcus thermophilus .
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Healing Your Digestive System Can Also Heal Your Mind
Probiotics that can alter the mind, also known as psychobiotics, can play an important role in promoting a healthy gut and a healthy mind. Probiotics are good bacteria that are similar to the bacteria already in your body. However, if you have too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria in your system, it could throw off your bodys functions and lead to health problems including weight gain, constipation and various skin conditions. These problems can add stress to daily life and increase symptoms of depression and unhappiness. Probiotics are beneficial because they heal you from the inside, and enhance a healthier and happiergut-brain connection.
Citations & References Icon
Liu, Te-Hua, Jiachi Chiou, and Tsung-Yu Tsai. “Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10-fermented soymilk on deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt-induced hypertension and associated dementia in rats.” Nutrients 8.5 : 260.
Liu, Wei-Hsien, et al. “Alteration of behavior and monoamine levels attributable to Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in germ-free mice.” Behavioural brain research 298 : 202-209.
Liu, Yen-Wenn, et al. “Psychotropic effects of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in early life-stressed and naïve adult mice.” Brain research 1631 : 1-12.
Toshimitsu, T., et al. “Identification of a Lactobacillus plantarum strain that ameliorates chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders in obese and type 2 diabetic mice.” Journal of dairy science 99.2 : 933-946.
Kassed, Cheryl A., and Miles Herkenham. “NF-B p50-deficient mice show reduced anxiety-like behaviors in tests of exploratory drive and anxiety.” Behavioural brain research154.2 : 577-584.
Coplan, Jeremy D., et al. “The relationship between intelligence and anxiety: an association with subcortical white matter metabolism.” Frontiers in evolutionary neuroscience 3 : 8.
Jeong, J& dash J., et al. “Lactobacillus pentosus var. plantarum C29 ameliorates age& dash dependent memory impairment in Fischer 344 rats.” Letters in applied microbiology 60.4 : 307-314.
Jeong, J-J., et al. “Anti-inflammaging effects of Lactobacillus brevis OW38 in aged mice.” Beneficial microbes 7.5 : 707-718.
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Do Probiotics Cause Any Side Effects
Probiotics generally dont cause any side effects. When they do, theyre usually mild.
Some people might experience bloating, gas, or diarrhea for a few days while initially taking a probiotic supplement.
Stop taking the supplement if you experience:
- stomach pain
- gas or bloating that doesnt go away
- general gastrointestinal distress
If you experience stomach pain, persistent gas or bloating, or other gastrointestinal distress, its a good idea to stop using the probiotic and talk to your doctor before trying it again.
You may be taking too much or need to switch to a different blend of probiotic strains. Taking more than the recommended dose may also cause pain, gas, and bloating.
Your Microbiome Composition And Mental Health
Its clear there is a link between gut bacteria and depression. The composition of the gut microbiome can tell you a lot about what is going on inside your body. Remember that everyones gut microbiome is unique, but diversity is a proven factor in keeping your body healthy.
Fortunately, its now easy to get your personal microbiome health status with at-home testing. You can see how diverse your microbiome is, how well it produces butyrate, and even what foods you should eat to support a healthy and happy microbial ecosystem.
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