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Bodytree Wellness Studio > News & Blog  > World Mental Health Day 2021: Psychobiotics

World Mental Health Day 2021: Psychobiotics

Written by Sarah Levine (Neurohacker): edited by Bodytree Studio

PSYCHOBIOTICS: Likely a new term you’re hearing, but knew about without realising, seeing as it has been around for a few millennia.

For #WorldMentalHealthDay we wanted to again draw your attention to the link between your gut and mood, as well as other helpful tips to guide you through coping with anxiety.

Probiotic rich and fermented foods and beverages go way back. The exact origins are lost to the annals of time, but Neolithic vessels point to intentional fermentation of fruit, rice, or honey beverages being a common practice 10,000 years ago.

Fermented foods contain beneficial microbes that aid in digestion and promote the growth of healthy gut flora.  It is this bacteria that can also affect our mood.

So what if we were able to re-inoculate bacteria into the gut that could positively affect mental and emotional health?

Enter: Psychobiotics. Considered a class of probiotic, psychobiotics are microorganisms that when ingested in adequate amounts, produce mental health benefits. Early research in animal studies have shown behavioral changes resulting from exposure to bacterial strains such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus

A published study by John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, found two varieties of Bifidobacterium produced by his lab were more effective than escitalopram (anxiety and depression medication) at treating anxious and depressive behavior in a lab mouse strain known for pathological anxiety. 

To date, there is a limited amount of human research, but there is evidence of a link between microbiota and emotional processing. In one study, healthy female volunteers consumed a fermented milk product with a mixture of probiotics, including Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis for 4 weeks. Results showed that probiotic consumption influenced brain activity in regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. 

Get more information on your gut and how it relates to your mood by booking a consultation with our Nutritionist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Suzan Terzian.

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