You may be taking a daily probiotic or have been interested in the idea of taking one for a while. But do you know why probiotics are so important to your body and brain chemistry? A healthy gut leads to a healthy brain, without the right bacteria your body can’t process the vital nutrients from food or supplements. Probiotics help us keep the good bacteria in our bodies and increase our health. In fact, research has shown that taking probiotics can help fight cancer, colds, constipation, and mental health issues.
7 Things You Need to Know About Probiotics
Don’t jut grab a yogurt that claims to contain probiotics (FYI the sugar in many brands causes probitoicss to be less effective, leading to yeast production). Also don’t just grab one at your health food store. You need to find a quality brand and discuss with your health practitioner to insure your getting one that’s right for you. Not all probiotics are the same.
1. Studies show there are over 1,000 different probiotic strains living in the human body. Bifidobacteria most prevalent in the large intestine (colon) and Lactobacilli most prevalent good bacteria in the small intestine as well as the urogenital tract. In the normal digestive tract alone, there are an estimated more than 400 strains.
2. Probiotics and a healthy GI tract are good for your mental health. A new study suggests low levels of certain gut bacteria could be linked to behavioral conditions like autism and depression. In this video by Dr. Perlmutter we learn more about how this works.
3. Probiotics improve your mood. Research in April 2015 reports that probiotic supplementation improves negative thoughts accompanying sad mood. The National Institute of Mental Health states that an estimated 16 million American adults (6.9%) had at least one major depressive episode in the past year with an additional 1.5% experiencing a milder form of depression known as dysthymic disorder. More on the study:
In this triple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, 40 subjects without mood disorders received supplementation for four weeks with a placebo or a multi-species probiotic, which included Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, andLactococcus lactis.
The subjects in the probiotic group experienced a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood compared to the placebo group. The reduced overall cognitive reactivity was accompanied by less rumination and fewer aggressive thoughts. The study authors stated, “These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. Probiotics supplementation warrants further research as a potential preventive strategy for depression.”
4. They aid in digestion. Probiotics help breaking down food. The human GI tract contains more than 500 species of bacteria that help break down food, strengthen immunity, and ward off pathogens. “There’s a war going on in your gut,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Shekhar Challa, author of Probiotics for Dummies. “When the ratio of good to bad bacteria gets out of whack,” he says, “adding a probiotic—a beneficial bacteria—can help refuel the good bacteria, needed to fight infections and keep you healthy.”
5. Lactose intolerant people benefit from probiotics. Saccharomyces boulardii, a common strain has therapeutic properties in the treatment of acute diarrhea in children. Probiotics have also been proven to help and even cure, to an extent, lactose intolerance. Probiotics with the strain Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to effectively metabolize lactose.
6. They stop infections. Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in some yogurt and other fermented food, is one of the most well-known strains. These microbes bind to the lining of the gut, help you digest, battle toxic intruders, and can stimulate the immune system such as curing diarrhea, alleviating gastrointestinal diseases, stopping yeast infections, and calming allergies.
7. Probiotics also help with skin conditions in children and adults. Lactic acid bacteria like probiotics reduce the risk for infantile eczema. As well as prebiotic supplementation, probiotics improve the symptoms of children with atopic dermatitis and can significantly prevent eczema and atopic eczema in infants.
Do you take a probiotic? Do your children? Let us know how they have helped your physical and mental health.
Take Good Care,
Emily Roberts MA, LPC
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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