9 min read
How Can Probiotics Cure My Anxiety?
Did you know that your brain directly influences your stomach and intestines? If you have ever felt gastrointestinal distress because of anxiety, that's an example of what experts describe as the "gut-brain connection." Probiotics make your gut happy. Will that also improve your mental health? Can probiotics possibly cure anxiety as well?
Being healthy includes having a good mental state, and probiotics are known for many health benefits for the gut and the mind.
This article will delve into the following topics.
- The relationship between gut health and mental health
- Can probiotics cure anxiety?
- How do probiotics help with anxiety?
- Tips on how to improve gut health and mental health.
Relationship Between Gut Health And Mental Health
You may not believe it, but the bacteria living in your gut can affect your overall health.
Studies have emerged establishing the connection between the brain and the gut. Poor gut diversity and gut inflammation were found to cause mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
This connection works both ways as the brain signals the stomach and intestines. You may have experienced this during times of emotional distress where you felt an upset stomach. Even in daily activities such as eating, the brain commands the gut to release substances that will aid in the digestion of food.
This relationship between gut health and mental health places importance on maintaining balance in the gut microbiota to help one cope with emotional stress. One of the best ways is through the consumption of probiotics.
Can Probiotics Cure My Anxiety?
A published study looked into the gut microbiome of individuals suffering from various mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It was revealed that they have low levels of anti-inflammatory bacteria and more pro-inflammatory ones.
After all, gut inflammation releases cytokines and neurotransmitters that affect the brain. These substances cause the development of anxiety, depression, and even memory loss.
This is where probiotics come into play!
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed appropriately, are beneficial to the body.
You can think of probiotics as the "good bacteria" that help the body fight harmful substances and help treat not only gut problems but also anxiety.
This is evident in many clinical studies conducted where probiotics were given as treatment to patients suffering from chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. The studies resulted in decreased cortisol (released as a response to stress) and improved mood.
How Do Probiotics Help With Anxiety
These beneficial bacterial strains help cure anxiety and its symptoms through the following mechanisms.
Regulation of the gut-brain axis (GBA)
Stress causes anxiety and, left unchecked, could lead to more serious mental illnesses such as depression!
The gut microbiota affects the GBA, the connection between the central (brain) and enteric (gut) nervous systems. Probiotics contribute to this pool of healthy bacteria and help maintain balance.
Control of inflammation
The role of probiotics in inflammation was found through a study where probiotic consumption decreased inflammatory markers such as TNF.
Probiotics also keep pro-inflammatory cytokine levels at bay and help strengthen the intestinal barrier among those with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).
Enhancement of the immune response
A study was conducted on mice with a poor immune system. They were given probiotic treatment, which positively resulted in the low production of stress hormones and a reinforced intestinal structure.
Protection of nerve cells
The role of probiotics in nerve cell protection was explored in a study conducted on rats. It was concluded that probiotics can enhance the nervous system's response to stress as well as prevent or treat any physiological damage.
Extra Tips On How To Improve Your Gut Health And Mental Health
As microscopics as they are, gut bacteria play a significant role in maintaining good mental health. A happy tummy indeed can contribute to a happier life. Here are more tips that will help improve your gut and mental health:
Eat a variety of foods every day.
While probiotic supplements are widely available in the market, getting your source of good bacteria from fermented foods is still recommended. You may try incorporating various foods into your diets, such as kimchi, miso, yogurt, fermented cheese, and cultured drinks.
Prebiotics are the non-digestible components of food that stimulate the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria. In simpler terms, the good bacteria feed on prebiotic fiber leading to its survival and increase in number in the gut.
Some prebiotic-rich foods are oats, bananas, blueberries, spinach, artichoke, onions, garlic, chia seeds, and flax.
Limit the intake of sugar-rich and fatty foods.
A study proved that Western diets high in fat and sugar can influence the gut and the mood resulting in anxiety and memory loss.
Learn how to manage stress.
Any psychological stress is enough to disrupt the balance in gut microbiota. A published study discussed how this change in microbial balance can lead to health consequences. Make sure to practice stress-reducing techniques, such as meditating, doing breathing exercises, going out for a walk, and talking to a friend.
Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics
While taking antibiotics is effective in the treatment of bacterial infections, overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance.
According to a study, antibiotics can disrupt microbial balance leading to a higher risk for inflammatory diseases. It is better to take antibiotics only as prescribed by a physician.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, and refraining from smoking are sure ways to make your gut healthy. Free from the burden of diseases, a healthy lifestyle will help ease your mind as you continue to live an anxiety-free life.
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The information provided on Nuzest is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please speak to your qualified healthcare professional in the event that something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.