Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
April 20, 2024 ·  7 min read

Probiotics & Mental Health: A Guide to Help With Brain, Mood, and Gut Health 

Have you ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach when you’re anxious? There is a real connection between our gut and brain. When we experience emotions like sadness, joy, anger, or anxiety, it can affect our stomach and digestion. This link is so strong that sometimes, stomach problems can cause stress, and anxiety can lead to stomach problems.

Studies have shown that bidirectional communication between healthy guts can positively impact the proper functioning of the central nervous system (CNS); the connection between the gut microbiota and the brain is commonly known as the gut-brain axis (Daulatzai, 2015). 

The Role of Your Gut Microbiota 

The gut microbiome has around 1018 microorganisms, primarily anaerobic bacteria. It plays a crucial role in digestion, bowel movement, and nutrient absorption (Grochowska et al., 2018). Could these tiny organisms in your gut (microbiota) directly impact your brain function? It’s true! Through numerous pathways, such as neural, endocrine, and immune, these microbes can influence your mood, cognitive abilities, and even your behavior. That is how interconnected our bodies are (Rieder et al., 2017).

Incorporating probiotics and prebiotics has many scientific benefits, including supporting and improving your gut microbiome and overall health. 

Read More: 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Gut Health: Recognize The Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

Probiotics Supplements and Foods

Incorporating probiotic supplements or foods into your diet can work wonders for your gut health by increasing the levels of good bacteria, or probiotics, in your digestive system. This, in turn, can boost your immune system, improve digestion, and promote overall well-being. Here’s a list of foods that you can incorporate into your diet to support a healthy gut microbiome and that may prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problems.

  • fermented vegetables
  • kefir
  • kimchi
  • kombucha
  • miso
  • sauerkraut
  • tempeh

Eating Prebiotic Fibre

Prebiotic fiber has several benefits for your body. It can improve the mineralization and absorption of calcium and phosphorus, increasing bone density. Additionally, it can enhance your immune system’s function, improve your body’s anti-inflammatory response, and boost the production of good bacteria while reducing harmful bacteria that cause disease. Probiotics rely on prebiotics, which are nondigestible carbohydrates, for their growth and multiplication in the gut. Prebiotics also help probiotics adapt to different conditions, including pH and temperature changes. Consider adding more prebiotic-rich foods to your diet to improve your gut health (Markowiak & Śliżewska, 2017). Prebiotic-rich foods include:

  • asparagus
  • bananas
  • chicory
  • garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • onions
  • whole grains

Read More: Parkinsons and the Gut-Brain Connection

Gut-Brain Connection and Anxiety

How our microbiome, gut, and brain interact affects anxiety, stress response, and social development. This connection is gaining attention in neuropsychiatric conditions. Researchers have found that the composition of gut bacteria is different in various psychiatric disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and schizophrenia (Cryan et al., 2019). However, there is conclusive evidence that specific probiotics can effectively reduce self-reported anxiety levels in healthy humans (Liu et al., 2019).

Benefits of Probiotic for Anxiety 

Researchers have observed that prebiotics and probiotics can positively impact mental health (Zagórska et al., 2020). Some claims suggest that a specific strain of probiotics is more effective for anxiety, while another strain is more effective for depression. However, no evidence supports that any particular strain or probiotic species is more effective than others. 

There are three main probiotic types: Lactobacillus/Bifidobacterium blends, Saccharomyces boulardii, and soil-based probiotics. Most probiotic studies have shown that these can help improve mood and alleviate anxiety, with most research focused on the Lactobacillus/Bifidobacterium category (Venkataraman et al., 2020). Other probiotic categories may also be effective, but they have yet to be studied (Li et al., 2023).

Read More: Probiotics May Help Detoxify Mercury in the Gut

Antibiotic use and the Subsequent Development of Depression

According to a recent systematic review, there is a correlation between the use of antibiotics and the development of depression. This is primarily because antibiotics can decrease the diversity of the gut microbiota. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that an unhealthy diet and environmental factors that affect the composition of gut microbes are strongly linked to a higher incidence of depression (Pouranayatihosseinabad et al., 2023) (Guida et al., 2018) (Marx et al., 2020). There has been some promising research exploring the potential benefits of using probiotics for treating depression. Specifically, two strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, have shown promise when studied together. When taken together, these two probiotics have displayed the ability to lessen symptoms of depression in some individuals. Further research is needed to incorporate probiotics into depression treatment plans (Johnson et al., 2023).

Probiotic and Prebiotic Supplements 

Naka Platinum Men’s Probiotic + Prebiotic

Naka Platinum Men’s Probiotic + Prebiotic contains 50 billion minimum live cultures at the time of expiry from 16 different stomach acid-resistant strains specifically chosen to help support male physiology. This shelf-stable probiotic + prebiotic has been specially formulated to help support intestinal and gastrointestinal health in men and maintain a healthy digestive system.

Naka Platinum Women’s Probiotic + Prebiotic

Naka Platinum Women’s Probiotic + Prebiotic contains 50 billion minimum live cultures at the time of expiry from 16 different stomach acid-resistant strains specifically chosen to help support female physiology. This shelf-stable probiotic + prebiotic has been specially formulated to help support intestinal and gastrointestinal health in women and maintain a healthy digestive system. By promoting a favorable gut flora, Probiotic + Prebiotic may stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine and gut while gently relieving constipation or irregular.


Research was conducted on a probiotic blend containing multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for its potential to alleviate mental health symptoms. Findings suggest probiotics may moderately reduce anxiety symptoms by promoting a healthy gut-brain connection. While probiotics and prebiotic foods and supplements can be a great approach to mental health, they should not be viewed as a substitute for professional treatment.

Read More: The Food That Has More Probiotics Than Yogurt and Tastes Just as Good


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    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.