According to the neuroscientists, a link can be associated between the human brain and gut bacteria. In fact, there also have been a number of evidences for the brain-gut connection, most of which have been performed on animals. As per the researchers, probiotics can be said to have an anti-anxiety effect as well. Countries like China and Japan have been widely utilizing probiotics, in the form of fermented milk for decades. In this article, we will discuss if probiotics can help to ward off depression and anxiety. Read below to find more.
Is Probiotics Ward Help Reduce Depression and Anxiety?
Is there a link between our guts and our brains?
According to the scientists who are increasingly trying to explore more into the connection between our guts and our brains, it has been found out that the two are sure to be very much linked to each other. Furthermore, there is a connection between the beneficial gut microbes and physical and mental health.
There can be a number of issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and depression that can be caused due to lack of beneficial microorganisms in the gut. Use of antibiotics and intestinal infections can alter the gut bacteria, thus killing off the good or beneficial bacteria.
Similarly, there is also a possibility that anxiety and depression can lead to abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal infection symptoms. This is why most of the people who suffer from depression or anxiety may at times suffer from abdominal pain and similar symptoms as well. Also, it is possible that gastrointestinal conditions like chronic abdominal pain or constipation can result in depression or anxiety.
As per some study, intestinal infection can lead to an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder within the next two years. Also, there are other studies that state the link of antibiotics use with the development of anxiety disorders in the later life.
Can probiotics treat chronic physical and mental health conditions?
By adding probiotics, i.e., changing the intestinal bacteria into the good ones, can help to treat certain chronic illnesses. A number of animal studies have been conducted which prove that probiotics are helpful in treating conditions like diarrhea or colitis. Whereas in case of human diseases, probiotics have not been shown to treat much of them.
According to an article in ‘Annals of General Psychiatry’ that was to review the medical literature available on the use of probiotics for anxiety and depression, a number of 10 studies were identified by the doctors. First and foremost, the studies were conducted on a very small number of patients that was around 42 to 124 patients and the results too came out to be mixed. This means that as per some studies, there were only mild benefits of taking probiotics for anxiety and depression, while other studies showed absolutely no benefit. Conclusively, there are yet more studies to be conducted on this aspect.
Can lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus help treat anxiety?
Well, as compared to the other strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus holds the maximum evidence to reduce anxiety. While there was not much conclusive evidence of the same in human studies, it was found that probiotics containing Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus led to a reduced anxiety-like behaviour in rodent studies.
Also, the emerging evidence states that probiotics can help boost mood and also protects the body from the detrimental effects of stress. Most probably, Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus may not be the only probiotics strain to help reduce anxiety and there may be several others but there is more research needed to identify those strains.
How do some people who already eat yogurt still suffer from depression?
There can be various factors that can contribute to anxiety or depression. While eating yogurt or other probiotics consisting of Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus may be one of the mechanisms but this can not be the only one to cure depression completely. Also, it is better for us to improve our diet and follow a healthy and nutritious one, in order to improve our mental health.
While some people may show a positive affect in their anxiety and depression with the use of drugs, others may not. And similar is the case with probiotics. However, more research is to be conducted with the use of probiotics for anxiety and depression. Thus, it is recommended to use probiotics in conjunction with your other anti-depressants rather than substituting them. Also, you must consult your doctor before you decide to take any of the probiotics.