What Probiotic Should I Take? Probiotics for Mood
If you are feeling depressed, anxious or just plain flunky, it’s likely your gut that’s behaving badly - and you can do something about it” (The Psychobiotic Revolution)
Are micro bacteria impacting your brain? The quick answer is yes.
This is a brand new field of research in mental health but certain types of microbiota have been well researched + found to be effective at altering your mood, relieving depression and helping with stress.
Probiotics can do more than improve your gut health. They enhance your brain, too.
Research shows that the gut and brain are connected, a partnership called the gut-brain axis. The two are linked through biochemical signaling between the nervous system in the digestive tract. The primary information connection between the brain and gut is the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in the body.
The gut has been called a "second brain" because it produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain does, like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which play a key role in regulating mood.
Psychobiotics are the gut bacteria that can improve your mood. They are a type of probiotic that produce neuroactive substances like dopamine, GABA and serotonin.
Learn how a better balanced gut can improve your mood - from the foods that can help foster a healthy internal ecosystem to debunking the science behind how probiotics benefit your gut flora and what to look for in the supplements you take.
How do probiotics improve mood
A ‘gut feeling’ or the sensation of ‘butterflies’ in the stomach are common illustrations of how a response in your brain is felt in your gut.
Stress can negatively impact your gut microbiota, which in turn can make you more anxious.
What affects the gut often affects the brain and vice versa. When your brain senses trouble—the fight-or-flight response—it sends warning signals to the gut, which is why stressful events can cause digestive problems like an upset stomach. And in reverse, episodes of gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, or chronic constipation may trigger anxiety or depression.
Your vagus nerve carries signals between your brain and organs, including your intestines. These signals are influenced by your gut microbiota. Your brain is, in this way, able to ‘sense’ the environment in the gut.
"Our exploratory study shows an improvement across time in different aspects of the profile of mood state, like sad mood, anger, and fatigue in healthy individuals which took probiotics. Sleep quality also reportedly improved after probiotics intake"
Did you know that 90% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine is made in our gut and not the brain? And that our gut influences our mood, cognition and mental health?
Stress can lead to changes in both the numbers and types of bacteria. This can have a knock-on effect for mood via the gut-brain communication system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
GABA is produced by some Lactobacilli and specific strains of Bifidobacterium with anti-depressant effects.
Vitamin B12, vital for normal psychological functioning, can only be synthesised by certain bacteria in your gut. If they are not present you cannot make B vitamins which are vital to enhance your mental wellbeing and improve your brain health.
Better brain health
2 things you can do today to change your gut and brain health:
- Change the foods you eat
- Include psychobiotic supplements in your daily routine
What to look for in your probiotic supplements
Some of the best strains of probiotics that help our mood are:
Bifidobacterium (Bifido or B. on labels)
Lactobacillus (Lactus or L. on labels)
Look for these types of probiotics:
Bifido: Longum, Infantis, Breve, Animalis, Bifidum
- Lactobacillus: Acidophilus, Bulgaricus, Helveticus, Rhamnosus, Reuteri, Plantarum, Casei
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
Make sure that your supplement has these strains of probiotics in to support your mood with your gut flora.
Would you like a multi vitamin which has everything you need to support your brain health, including a unique blend of psychobiotics?
Find our more here:
Mood Me Story
These capsules have really helped to regulate my mood.
I am no longer overwhelmed by the frequent changes in my mood that I used to experience.
After going through a tough time recently I was often anxious
and would feel down and like I could never relax and enjoy any down time.
These capsules have helped to stabilise these feelings and provide clarity,
allowing me to feel like I’m able to start enjoying life again.
When I do still have a down or anxious moment,
which is completely normal and part of life, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and I’m able to identify it and respond in a healthy and practical way.
Thank you M + E for your help and support
What foods to eat to improve gut health?
To balance your mood with foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics try adding these:
1 Chicory, endive, lentils, asparagus, beans, garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, beets, broccoli)
2 All fermented foods
3 Whole fat live yogurt
10 Lifestyle changes to improve gut health
Here are 10 life changes that can reduce gut damage + boost your gut health significantly:
1 Eat more fibre (fresh vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains)
2 Reduce junk + processed food
3 Reduce sugar (high quality maple syrup + honey contain prebiotics)
4 Increase Omega 3 intake (nuts, seeds, olives, oily fish)
5 Drink less alcohol
6 Increase antioxidant foods (berries, turmeric, green tea)
7 Control your stress levels (I've written more about this in a blog here)
8 Increase exercise
10 Intermittent fasting
Quite a challenge!
Making loads of changes all at once to your food habits can feel overwhelming so I truly recommend taking one change at a time.
Start with the one that you will find easiest to sustain, that you will be able to do forever, before adding another.
We think it’s just what we have to put up with.
A better balanced gut can improve anyone’s mood and the good news is that you can change the composition of your gut overnight just by eating different foods.
You are a unique ecosystem so you might have to experiment to see what works best for you.
If you start with making sure you shop for the ingredients so that when you open your fridge or larder cupboard you have everything there that is good for your gut, choices become simple.
Making changes to your foodstyle (my word) can be challenging and take a little time to become your new normal.
That’s where a high quality supplement fits in. It helps you to give your digestion a boost, fix the deficiencies and fill the gaps.
Add a good supplement + you are fast on your way to transforming your health.
I'd love to hear about the ways that you boost your probiotc levels. Please do leave a comment or send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care of yourself,
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The microbiota–gut–brain axis: pathways to better brain health. Perspectives on what we know, what we need to investigate and how to put knowledge into practice