Probiotics for anxiety and depression

Probiotics for Anxiety and Depression-Natural Way to Cure It

If you assume probiotics are just for gut health, then it's high time for your knowledge to get upgraded. 

The gut is assumed to be the second brain in the human body. This is due to vast networks of neurons embedded within the gut lining. The role of probiotics in improving gut health is well-established, but could they also be key players in tackling mental health issues such as anxiety and depression? how long does it take for probiotics to work for anxiety?

Let's explore this fascinating subject in depth.

Gut-Brain Connection 

Your gut houses the enteric nervous system, which consists of two thin layers of millions of nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum. Often referred to as the "second brain," the ENS is essential in maintaining optimal gut function. 

The gut microbiota also plays a significant role in gut-brain synergy. The microbiome is responsible for the production of neurotransmitters. Astonishingly. 90% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter for better mood, is used by the brain and is produced within the gut. 

Disruptions in the balance of the gut microbiota can impact this neurotransmitter production, potentially affecting mood and overall mental health. 

In short, when you are stressed and depressed, your brain signals the effect on your gut motility and functionality, resulting in stomach discomfort or a change in bowel movements. 

Probiotics and Mental Health

Emerging research shows a strong correlation between the state of the gut microbiota and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. These conditions are often linked with low-grade inflammation in the body and brain, and unhealthy gut microbiota can exacerbate this inflammation.

Probiotics help by restoring balance to the gut microbiota, reducing gut inflammation, and consequently reducing inflammation in the brain. This can help mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A review published in the Annals of General Psychiatry in 2017 analyzed ten clinical trials and concluded that probiotics showed promise as a treatment for depression. In addition to this, another study in 2020 also showed some promising benefits associated with both probiotics and prebiotics in treating anxiety and post-traumatic depression. 

Probiotics and mental health

Ways Probiotics Tackle Anxiety and Depression

Probiotics help alleviate anxiety and depression in several ways

Modulating Neurotransmitter Production: 

Some strains of probiotics can influence the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play significant roles in mood regulation. For instance, certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are known to produce GABA, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the body. 

Improving Stress Response

Probiotics help improve your body's stress response system. By reducing the production of stress hormones and promoting relaxation, they can potentially help manage anxiety and depression.

Certain probiotics appear to reduce the reactivity of the HPA axis, helping the body cope better with stress.

Regulation of Inflammation

Inflammation plays a significant role in anxiety and depression. People with these conditions often have elevated levels of inflammatory substances, like cytokines, in their bodies. Probiotics can help regulate the body's inflammatory responses by improving gut health and reducing inflammation. This could potentially ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall mood.

Choosing the Best Probiotic for Anxiety and Depression 

Choosing the best probiotics for anxiety involves considering the strain of the probiotic, its quality, and any scientific evidence supporting its use for mental health. However, it's also crucial to remember that everyone's gut microbiota is unique, so what works well for one person may not work the same for another.

Here are some probiotic strains that work best for treating behavioral issues: 

  • B.longum: This strain is also known for its potential anti-anxiety effects. In a human study, participants who took a probiotic containing B. longum, such as the Probiotic 50 billion, reported lower levels of stress and improved memory.
  • L.casei: Some studies suggest that L. casei might improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • L.helveticus and B.longum combination: Some studies have shown that combining these two strains can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • L.rhamnosus: This strain has been studied for its potential effects on the brain's stress response.

Best probiotic supplement for anxiety

How Long does it Take For Probiotics To Work For Anxiety? 

The effects of probiotics on anxiety can vary significantly depending on individual factors such as the specific strain used, the probiotic dosage, the person's unique gut microbiota, and their overall health status. 

As a general guideline, probiotics might take two to four weeks to start influencing anxiety symptoms (How Long Does it Take for Probiotics to Work? A Deep Dive). Still, for some individuals, it could take longer.

How Do You Know Probiotics Are Working for Anxiety

The effect of probiotics on anxiety can be subtle and may take some time to become noticeable, usually a few weeks. However, if you notice the following indicators (Signs Your Probiotics Are Working) after adding probiotic supplements for anxiety then you are on the right path: 

  • Improve digestive health 
  • Reduced anxiety symptoms 
  • Better mood
  • Improved sleep 
  • Enhanced energy levels 

Tips to Enhance the Effectiveness of Probiotic Supplements 

To get better and more profound results from Probiotic supplements, it is best to keep the following tips in mind: 

  1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they may counteract on probiotic effect. 
  2. Physical activity can help reduce anxiety symptoms and promote healthy gut microbiota.
  3. Consistency is key for optimal benefits. Don’t forget to skip a day. 
  4. Choose the best probiotic capsule (strains) for the optimized results on anxiety. Make sure to choose a strain that has been studied for anxiety, and take it in a dosage shown to be effective. Various supplement stores in Canada can supply some finely made supplements with the best strains for anxiety.  
  5. Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help maintain a healthy gut microbiota, which can support the effectiveness of your probiotics.

Final Verdict 

In summary, probiotics may potentially manage anxiety and depression by promoting gut health and influencing the gut-brain axis. However, results can vary significantly among individuals. Probiotics should be viewed as part of a holistic approach to mental health, which includes a healthy lifestyle, stress management, and appropriate professional care. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting a probiotic regimen for anxiety or depression.

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