To Your Health Newsletter

September, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 19)
Probiotics for Depression?

By Editorial Staff

I take probiotics for gut health, but what does that have to do with depression? A great deal, suggests research. Probiotics are "healthy bacteria": live microorganisms that may help restore gastrointestinal flora. Our GI tract contains trillions of such bacteria naturally, but antibiotics, poor diet – particularly the processed, sugary, high-animal-fat variety too many of us are accustomed to – and other factors can decrease good bacteria, causing health issues.

Enter probiotics, which may do more than just help restore damaged gut health, perhaps even helping fight depression, according to researchers. In reviewing previous studies that met the study authors' criteria, probiotic use (one strain or multiple strains) was associated with a significant reduction in anxiety and/or depression symptoms compared to not taking probiotics. One study that included combined therapy with probiotics and prebiotics (a type of dietary fiber that, among other health functions, nourishes "good" GI bacteria) also was effective at reducing symptoms.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about the power of probiotics (and prebiotics) for gut health, and as this review study suggests, mental health. To learn more about probiotics in general and how healthy gut bacteria help optimize our valuable intestinal "microbiome," click here.

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