Although it is a fairly new idea, the use of probiotics for psychiatric treatment is gaining traction as more and more studies begin to show a link between gut flora and psychological functioning.
Probiotics are live organisms that are ingested to replace our body’s own beneficial gut bacteria that may have been destroyed by a poor diet or other factors. Here are some probiotics that experts think could be beneficial to mental health.
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1. Lactobaccillus rhamnous
Psychology Today reported
a new study of mice has shown a positive correlation between taking L. rhamnous and lower levels of stress hormones when a stressful situation was introduced to the environment.
2. Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001
Research published in The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, cited by Dr. Joseph Mercola, found this probiotic
“normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis,” he said. In other words, the mice felt less anxious after taking the probiotic.
3. Greek yogurt
Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what probiotic strains are being used in yogurt, but another study reported in Psychiatry Advisor showed people who ate yogurt containing probiotics
said their mood improved compared to a control group who only thought they were eating probiotic yogurt.
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Kefir is a fermented product popularized in the Mediterranean region that is now widely available in most grocery and health food stores. Most kefir is dairy-based, but some is made with water or coconut water to avoid dairy. Kefir contains up to 20 different strains of probiotics. In addition to probiotics, kefir contains tryptophan and thiamine, which help to relax the body and lower stress levels.
5. Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 plus B longum
These two probiotics were fed to healthy volunteers in a 30-day study. The volunteers reported lower stress levels and lower free cortisol levels than those who received a placebo, according to Medscape
Although researchers stress that much more studying needs to be done to prove that probiotics have a psychiatric effect on humans, these early studies show that probiotics have the potential to impact mental health positively.
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