I recommend probiotics in my practice for a number of reasons. I advise them for people who need to take antibiotics in order to counteract the negative effects of the antibiotics on the healthy bowel bacteria.
I also advise them for patients with low level chronic gastro-intestinal symptoms and no clear cause. Fiber (e.g. citrucel) and probiotics are a good, natural place to start.
But a recent study suggests that probiotics can effect mood!
This is a fascinating finding that provides further supportive evidence for the mind-body connection that is active in so many conditions.
Specifically, the report in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, by researchers found that multi species probiotics have an effect on mood after four weeks of supplementation.
They used probiotics containing Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, and Lactococcus lactis and looked at the effect on rumination, a stressful psychological symptom related to anxiety and depression.
Participants given the healthy bacteria (probiotic) felt better and had less rumination than those given a placebo.
Amazing stuff! Perhaps one day soon we’ll understand this phenomenon well enough to treat, at least in part, mood issues with probiotics, not just anti-depressants and psychotherapy.
The old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” will then become “the way to a person’s brain/mood is through his intestinal tract”!