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Probiotics and Their Role in Regulating Mental Health

Probiotics, the good bacteria that help with digestive processes have many more benefits than just that. Most of us focus so much on how probiotics benefit the physical aspects of our body, people are still oblivious to how they can help with certain psychological factors. It is true that certain bacteria that are present in the gut are even capable of altering moods in the most positive ways.

The reason why probiotics can help us in regulating our moods is because our gut, quite surprisingly, is connected with our brain. If the gut environment is disturbed, it can have an immense effect on our mental health as well. It has been scientifically proven that our microbiome can cause neurochemical changes. The part of the brain that controls our emotions is called amygdala. Various experiments conducted on mice showed that mice that don’t have probiotics in their system had a hyperactive amygdala, which would cause anxiety.

What’s the connection?

The bacteria that are present in our gut produce certain kinds of metabolites. These metabolites may have the ability to influence the functioning and development of the brain by modulating the central and peripheral nervous system. Besides that, our microbiota also interacts with a system called the serotonergic system, which is closely associated with serotonin production. Serotonin is one of the major neurotransmitters that control mood.

Our microbiota also regulates the development of the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis), thus controlling and regulating our stress reactions. This means, people who have a healthy microbiome would react more positively in tacking with stressors than ones who don’t have a balanced microbiome. Some of the probiotics, like lactobacillus rhamnosus and acidophilus may act like anti-depressants too. This is why, if you wonder is taking acidophilus good for you, the answer is always a yes.

We all know irritable bowel syndrome has very evident psychological symptoms, like anxiety, depression, short-temper, irritability, etc. If irritable bowel syndrome is caused because of a disbalance in the number of good bacteria in the gut, one can deal with the psychological symptoms by restoring the probiotic balance. Some of the probiotic strains that help in case of irritable bowel syndrome are- B. infantis, lactobacillus casei, and lactobacillus rhamnosus.

The bottom-line

For years, probiotics have not bene accounted for all the benefits they are capable of delivering to the human body. However, today, scientists are more interested than ever in finding out how a healthy microbiota can help solve so many problems. And gradually, even laymen are being more interested in knowing more about these wonder bacteria.

Each bacterium has its own benefits; and based on what probiotic strain you consume, you would witness a different range of benefits. This is why, you should have a good idea about why exactly you are taking probiotic supplements. Once you know why, you would be able to choose the right strain for yourself. Taking a variety of probiotic strains is also a good alternative- wherein you would be able to witness a wider range of benefits from different types of strains of probiotics.

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