Psychobiotics : How To Use Probiotics To Improve Anxiety and Depression - Manjiri Nadkarni Blog
Psychobiotics : How To Use Probiotics To Improve Anxiety and Depression
By Dr. Manjiri Nadkarni. January 1, 2023
We often hear about the beneficial effects of probiotics for our gut health. But did you know that certain strains of probiotics can have beneficial effects not just on the physical body but also your mind leading to reduced risk of anxiety and depression.
So whether you struggle with anxiety or depression, you could benefit from these amazing ‘Psychobiotics’ or ‘probiotics that can support your mental health’.
In this article, I will discuss
What are ‘psychobiotics’?
Are all probiotics ‘psychobiotics’?
10 Health Benefits of Psychobiotics
5 main strains of probiotics that are beneficial for mental health
WHAT ARE ‘PSYCHOBIOTICS’?
Psychobiotics are a new class of probiotics that have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mental health. These probiotics contain specific strains of bacteria that have been found to promote a healthy gut-brain axis, supporting a range of cognitive functions including mood, anxiety, and depression.
One of the most significant benefits of psychobiotics is their ability to modulate the gut-brain axis. The gut is often referred to as the "second brain" due to the extensive network of nerves and neurotransmitters it contains. Psychobiotics have been shown to interact with the gut microbiome, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria that can help reduce inflammation in the gut and improve mental health.
Another significant benefit of psychobiotics is their ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that specific strains of psychobiotics can help to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and improve the body's stress response. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and promote a more positive mood.
In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, psychobiotics have also been shown to improve cognitive function. Studies have found that specific strains of psychobiotics can improve memory and attention, as well as cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to switch between different tasks.
Furthermore, psychobiotics have been found to have a positive impact on depression. Specific strains of psychobiotics have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, including feelings of sadness and hopelessness. This is likely due to their ability to modulate the gut-brain axis and reduce inflammation in the gut.
ARE ALL PROBIOTICS ‘PSYCHOBIOTICS’?
No, not all probiotics are psychobiotics. While all psychobiotics are probiotics, not all probiotics have been studied for their effects on mental health.
'Psychobiotics' are a specific type of probiotic that have been shown to have an impact on mental health by altering the gut-brain axis.
The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system between the gut and the brain. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which make up the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a critical role in the regulation of the gut-brain axis, and research has shown that certain probiotics can influence this axis, leading to changes in behavior and mood.
Psychobiotics are a type of probiotic that has been specifically studied for its effects on mental health. These probiotics have been shown to have an impact on anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. For example, some strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood in humans.
While not all probiotics have been studied for their psychobiotic effects, it is possible that other probiotics may have a positive impact on mental health. However, more research is needed to determine which strains of probiotics are most effective and how they work.
It's also worth noting that the effects of psychobiotics can vary from person to person, and that they should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. Anyone considering taking probiotics or other supplements for mental health should consult with a healthcare provider.
10 Benefits of Psychobiotics
Here are the 10 main benefits of regular consumption of psychobiotics
Psychobiotics can positively affect the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can improve mood.
Studies have shown that psychobiotics can help reduce anxiety by regulating stress hormones.
Better Cognitive Function:
Psychobiotics can improve cognitive function and enhance memory and learning abilities.
Psychobiotics can reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to many health problems.
Enhanced Immune System: The microbiota-gut-brain axis plays a role in the immune system, and psychobiotics can help strengthen it.
Improved Sleep: Psychobiotics can help regulate the sleep cycle and improve the quality of sleep.
Lowered Risk of Depression: Psychobiotics can help regulate the gut-brain axis and reduce the risk of depression.
Improved Digestion: Psychobiotics can improve digestion by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Lowered Risk of Obesity: Psychobiotics can help regulate appetite and promote weight loss by affecting the levels of ghrelin and leptin hormones.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Psychobiotics can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.
D. 5 Main Strains of Probiotics That Are Beneficial For Mental Health
Several strains of probiotics have been found to be beneficial for mental health. Here are some of the most well-studied strains:
L. rhamnosus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines. It belongs to the genus Lactobacillus, a type of bacteria that produce the enzyme lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the sugar lactose — which is found in dairy — into lactic acid. This strain has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood and cognitive function.
Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) is a type of probiotic that resides in your intestines. It produces lactic as well as acetic acid in the gut. This strain has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as boost cognitive function.
Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium bifidum:
These two strains have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve mood and cognitive function.
Lactobacillus plantarum is a strain of probiotic bacteria naturally found in the mouth as well as your gut. It helps break down food, absorb nutrients, and control "bad" microorganisms in the digestive tract that might otherwise lead to gut dysbiosis. This strain has been found to reduce inflammation in the gut and improve mood and cognitive function.
Streptococcus thermophilus is a type of lactic acid producing probiotic found in the digestive tract which has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve cognitive function.
It's important to note that the effects of probiotics can vary from person to person, and not all strains will work for everyone. Additionally, the dosage and length of treatment can also affect the efficacy of the probiotic. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best strains and dosages for your individual needs.
In summary, psychobiotics are a promising new class of probiotics that can offer a range of benefits for mental health. By promoting a healthy gut microbiome and modulating the gut-brain axis, psychobiotics can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and reduce symptoms of depression.
If you are interested in improving your mental health and seeing which strains of ‘Psychobiotics’ will support your gut and brain heal, click on the link below to book your free 15 minute consultation with Vd. Manjiri Nadkarni, MD (Ayu), RHN, CBAC.
The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Manjiri Nadkarni (Manjiri Nadkarni Consulting) and is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical/ psychological advice . Please note that Manjiri Nadkarni is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional in Canada. She is a Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine - MD (Ayurveda) (licensed and registered in India) and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. The information on this website is NOT intended as medical or psychological nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regiment.