Probiotics and the Pursuit of Happiness

Did you know that within your gut, you have roughly 100 trillion bacteria, more than the number of cells in your body, belonging to about 1,000 species? Scientists have recently discovered that some of these species of probiotics directly impact our mood. 

These probiotics maintain the normal functioning of our brains and nervous systems by producing and modulating critical neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, and GABA. They also synthesize essential nutrients such as folic acid, niacin, vitamin B12, and vitamin K2. Probiotics have thus been shown to have a positive effect on mental health conditions like anxiety and depression and may have an impact on many more psychiatric conditions. 

Probiotics play a vital role in maintaining our psychological well-beingProbiotics are friendly bacteria that have lived in the human gut for thousands of years and are essential to our emotional stability. They are symbiotic, meaning that they benefit us in return for the benefits that we provide (including nutrition and a cozy home). One could say that they are like little doctors, as they seem to respond to our unique makeup, upregulating or downregulating the production of numerous compounds essential to human well-being.

In individuals with depression and anxiety, the composition or alteration of their gut microbiota can significantly affect their psychological symptoms. Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health disorders among adults. These disorders are some of the leading causes of disability around the world.

Depression is a mental illness characterized by a persistently low mood. Typical symptoms include apathy, depressed mood, and psychomotor slowing. If left untreated, depression can have detrimental effects on numerous aspects of an individual’s life and interpersonal relationships. Depression is a multifactorial mental illness resulting from brain chemical abnormalities, genetics, psychosocial stressors, trauma, medical conditions, and certain medications.

Anxiety disorders are also one of the most common mental health disorders. Anxiety is described as a state of intense fear. It becomes a disorder when it becomes excessive and interferes with daily functioning. Standard treatment for depression and anxiety includes drugs that alter the neurotransmitter levels in the brain, including increasing serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. However, some of the side effects of these medications include excessive nausea, weight gain, drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, agitation, restlessness, and sexual side effects.

Recent literature has shown the importance of the relationship between gut microbiota and mental illnesses. The brain-gut axis communicates in a bidirectional manner. This link is further established by studies showing there is a high rate of co-morbidity among individuals with anxiety and depression and gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Microbacteria are microorganisms that live in the digestive tract of humans. These microorganisms have been the topic of numerous studies due to their significant connection to human physiology. Although current knowledge about gut microbiota is limited, an increasing number of studies show the relationship between gut microbiota and physical and mental health.

The gastrointestinal tract has a large surface area and is exposed to commensal microorganisms and exogenous pathogens. The number of bacteria in the gut is greater than the actual number of cells in the human body. These bacteria have diverse functions, such as regulating host nutrient metabolism, maintaining the mucosal barrier, immunomodulation, and defending against pathogenic organisms.

Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms with beneficial health effects on the host, and prebiotics are given to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The gut microbiota is defined as microorganisms that live in the gut. 

Studies have shown that depression can increase the permeability of the gut barrier, resulting in bacteria seeping into the circulation and producing an inflammatory response through an immune response.

Anxiety also increases gut permeability, resulting in the same inflammatory response. A study found that depression causes higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in individuals, increasing the levels of inflammation. Stress can lead to a more significant inflammatory response, which has also been linked to anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, gut microbacteria play a role in disorders related to the brain. Dysregulation in immune regulation, signaling pathways, and gastrointestinal function may occur due to a disturbance of the gut microbacteria. Modulating the gut microbacteria in patients with depression or anxiety may prove helpful, as evidenced by the significant relationship between the gut and the CNS.

Several studies of patients with depression and anxiety have shown the positive effect of probiotics on modulating the symptoms of these disorders. The type of gut microbiota individuals have a significant effect on their well-being and directly impacts levels of anxiety and depression. These individuals treated with prebiotics and probiotics experience improved physiological outcomes compared to their counterparts who didn’t.

When treated with prebiotics and probiotics, individuals with anxiety or depression can improve their mood and decrease the severity of their symptoms with almost zero side effects. This is done by multiple mechanisms, mainly by reducing the inflammatory response and increasing serotonin and dopamine availability. 

A balanced microbiome is essential for supporting the gut-brain axis, the connection between brain and gut health. Our Flora 50B supports the gut-brain axis, which keeps the memory sharp and cognitive function working its best. Because much of the immune system is located in the intestines, the beneficial bacteria included in Flora 50B are the driving forces behind a healthy immune system.

To learn more about the relationship between depression, anxiety, and probiotics, get a FREE Consultation with one of our doctors (D.C) here

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