“According to the latest research, probiotics could be a very important intervention for mental health and specifically for depression and anxiety,” Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of “A Mind of Your Own,” told FoxNews.com.

“In fact,” he says, “they are often referred to as ‘psycho-biotics’ because of what we are learning about about the gut and the microbes that make up the ecology of the gut directly impact the brain behaviour, mood and cognition.”

The trillions of microbes in your intestinal tract profoundly impact the functions of your body – digesting food, regulating your immune system and even transmitting signals to the brain that alter mood and behaviour.

95% of your serotonin (the feel good hormone) is made in the gut. As result poor gut health can impact your mood.

Recent research supports the belief that gut bacteria seriously affect mood and demeanour.

Dr. John Bienenstock and Dr. Paul Forsythe from The Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada able to control the moods of anxious mice by feeding them healthy microbes from fecal material collected from calm mice.

Bienenstock and Forsythe used a “social defeat” scenario in which smaller mice were exposed to larger, more aggressive ones for a couple of minutes daily for 10 consecutive days. The smaller mice showed signs of heightened anxiety and stress – nervous shaking, diminished appetite and less social interaction with other mice. The researchers then collected fecal samples from the stressed mice and compared them to those from calm mice.

“What we found was an imbalance in the gut microbiota of the stressed mice,” said Forsythe.

“There was less diversity in the types of bacteria present. The gut and bowels are a very complex ecology. The less diversity, the greater disruption to the body.”

“it continued to get better for several weeks afterward”

The scientists then ed the stressed mice the same probiotics (live bacteria) found in the calm mice and examined the new fecal samples. They also studied changes in brain chemistry.

“Not only did the behaviour of the mice improve dramatically with the probiotic treatment, but it continued to get better for several weeks afterward,” said Bienenstock.

How to increase the probiotics in your gut

You can increase the probiotics in your gut by taking probiotic supplements or consuming foods such as miso soup, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, pickles and yoghurt.

There is also research that suggests spirulina helps boost growth of probiotics.

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