Depression, anxiety, and stress are serious conditions often described as medical issues and can be professionally treated with prescription medication. In fact, scientists agree that depression is a complex chemical brain imbalance.
There are various possible causes of these mental afflictions such as inflammation, chronic stresses as well as gut issues.
Gut bacteria are so extremely important for our immune system. The bacteria affects our brain and are often a deciding factor whether our body will be healthy or ill.
They are significant for enhancing various useful enzymes and metabolizing good cholesterol and triglycerides.
Experts from Australian University in Queensland found out that probiotics can really do some wonders in treating depression, stress, and anxiety.
According to the experts’ research and study:
“Interest in the gut-brain axis and emerging evidence that the intestinal microbiota can influence central nervous system function has led to the hypothesis that probiotic supplementation can have a positive effect on mood and psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.”
The scientists concluded that:
“The meta-analysis showed that supplementation with probiotics resulted in a statistically significant improvement in psychological symptoms compared with placebo”.
Still, they share the opinion that probiotics treatment need a bit further research in order to confirm this theory.
The National Academy of Science came to an interesting conclusion about the positive effects of a bacterium called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. This yogurt bacterium showed promising effects on anxiety as well as depression.
Also, disease neurobiologists from Oxford discovered strong results. The lead author of the neurobiologists’ team, Dr. Philip Burnet, said for the Huffington Post:
“Prebiotics are dietary fibers (short chains of sugar molecules) that good bacteria break down, and use to multiply. Prebiotics are ‘food’ for good bacteria already present in the gut. Taking prebiotics, therefore, increases the numbers of all species of good bacteria in the gut, which will theoretically have greater beneficial effects than [introducing] a single species.”
This interesting study involved about 50 healthy adults aged between 18 and 45. They took either a placebo or a prebiotic for 3 weeks. The scientists analyzed their mental state through some computer tests in order to get a feedback about their emotional condition.
It turned out that those who took prebiotics were less sensitive to stressful information and they experienced much less anxiety.
Furthermore, their saliva tests indicated reduced cortisol (a stress hormone connected with anxiety and depression).
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, a lead author, said:
“Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut. Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.”
Ted Dinan, a psychiatry professor at University College Cork, explained his thinking to Psychology Today:
“there are three basic mechanisms underlying the astonishing connection between these lowly microorganisms and our very personalities:
(1) Bacteria that live in the gut (or travel through it aboard some yogurt) are necessary building blocks in the production of neurochemicals there, like serotonin and dopamine.
(2) That impact on neurochemicals, in turn, has an effect on the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol. (3) Gut bugs also play a vital role in regulating the immune system and the inflammatory response it can launch when things go haywire. Inflammation is now widely considered to be one underlying cause of depression.”
Health of the mind is determined by the gut’s health
In order to keep our mental system healthy, we should make some dietary changes.
For this reason, we should avoid unhealthy food such as highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, etc. and increase the overall intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes as well as grains.
The overall goal is to take probiotics, anti-inflammatory foods, spices and to stay hydrated. In addition, we should exercise regularly, sleep well, limit stress, and always take probiotics after the usage of antibiotics, in order to refresh our gut bacteria.
These foods and drinks which are very rich in probiotics and prebiotics include:
- Sour cream
- Sourdough bread
- Cottage cheese
These studies are very optimistic since now we know that we can control, prevent and also treat depression and anxiety.
You can find even more foods that fight anxiety on our other articles!
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