There’s entrenching evidence that your brain has an immense influence on your gut, and that your gut serves as your second brain. We call that connection, the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis (GBA) is a bi-directional communication network between your central nervous system (CNS) which includes the brain and enteric nervous system (ENS) which encompasses your digestive tract. The vagus nerve serves as the communication grid between these two networks. Recent evidence suggests that probiotics may do more than just improve your gut health, but also may improve your brain health and overall mood state. We explore this undeniable connection between probiotics and brain health.
How Does The Gut-Brain Axis Work?
What affects the gut, also affects the brain and vice versa. When your brain senses trouble or a traumatic event, the flight or fight response kicks in, and sends signals to the gut and causes temporary digestive issues or upset stomach. In contrast, if you experience a flare in irritable bowel disorders (IBD) such as irritable bowel syndrome, chrons, and ulcerative colitis signals can be sent to your brain, causing depression and anxiety.
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Another example, is how your gut regulates your appetite. The gut signals to your brain, when to eat, and when to stop eating. Shortly after you eat, gut microbes produce proteins that suppress appetite, which is why you’ve often heard, to slow down when you eat.
How Does The Gut Microbiome Affect The Brain?
Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of good bacteria. Probiotics are comprised of billions of healthy bacteria to populate your gut and help promote better nutrient absorption and digestive health, through relieving symptoms such as bloating and promoting regularity. Recent evidence suggests however, that probiotics are also good for brain health and overall mood state.
Do Probiotics Affect Brain Health?
Recent pre-clinical evidence has shown that probiotics, specifically Lactobaccilius, can decrease depressive mood state through regulation of gut microbiota. Research suggests that those with depressive mood states, have a dysregulated microbiota, with a decrease in probiotic diversity and richness [R].
In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, fecal samples were taken from 34 clinically depressed patients. A fecal microbiota transplantation was taken from the patients and transplanted to healthy germ-free microbiota depleted rats. The results showed that transplantation of a dysregulated microbiota from depressed humans to germ-free mice conferred a depressive-related phenotype in these animals [R, R]. Another study showed the same psycho-neuro-gut reaction when transplantation of microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome with anxiety to germ-free mice resulted in gastrointestinal symptoms and anxiety related disorders. These findings indicate that dysregulation to the gut microbiota is capable of facilitating the behavioral and physiological symptoms of depression and anxiety, through a bi-directional pathway, or as we know the gut-brain axis [R].
What Probiotics Strains Are Best For Brain Health?
The probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to improve anxiety and social related behaviors in pre-clinical animal studies. These findings also support that probiotics with this particular strain may support the use for treatment of depression and stress-related disorders [R].
Another well-known probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum has demonstrated efficacy in reducing stress-induced cortisol release, along with attenuating daily self-reported levels of stress and improving visuospatial memory in healthy male volunteers [R].
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Evidence suggests that these probiotic strains can assist in reducing stress, and depression, as well as improving memory. Both of these strains can be found in Swolverine’s Probiotix.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Probiotix (60 Servings)
Do Probiotics Benefit Brain Health? Takeaway
Emerging evidence suggests that probiotics can benefit the gut-brain axis, through promoting a healthy gut microbiota. By supplementing healthy probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium longum you can enhance your gut’s microbiota to not only promote better nutrient absorption and digestive health, but to also improve overall brain function and mood. In addition to supplementation, try implementing these probiotic rich foods for gut health to your diet.
Want to improve your brain health and function?
Probiotix works to help maintain the balance in your body's microbiota. The human body carries nearly 100 trillion bacteria in the gut…that’s more than 10 times the total number of human cells in the entire body. Probiotics are those “good” bacteria that help keep the gut healthy and assist in digestion and nutrient absorption, to provide better digestive, brain and immune health.
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Kelly, J.R., Y. Borre, C. O’ Brien,et al. 2016. Transferring the blues: depression-associated gut microbiota induces neurobehavioural changes in the rat. J. Psychiatr Res. 82: 109– 118.
Zheng, P., B. Zeng, C. Zhou, et al. 2016. Gut microbiome remodeling induces depressive-like behaviors through a pathway mediated by the host’s metabolism. Mol. Psychiatry 21:786–796.
De Palma, G., M.D.J. Lynch, J. Lu, et al. 2017. Transplantation of fecal microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome alters gut function and behavior in recipient mice. Sci. Transl. Med. 6397: 1–15.
Allen, A.P., W. Hutch, Y.E. Borre, et al. 2016. Bifidobacterium longum 1714 as a translational psychobiotic: modulation of stress, electrophysiology and neurocognition in healthy volunteers. Transl. Psychiatry 6: e939.
Tillisch, K., J. Labus, L. Kilpatrick,et al. 2013. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology 144: 1394–1401, 1401.e1-4.
Pinto-sanchez, M.I., G.B. Hall, K. Ghajar, et al. 2017. Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 reduces depression scores and alters brain activity: a pilot study in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2017.05.003.
Eoin Sherwin, Timothy G. Dinan, John F. Cryan Recent developments in understanding the role of the gut microbiota in brain health and disease. ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Issue: The Year in Neurology and Psychiatry