Over the last several years, the benefits of probiotics have been shown to expand beyond digestive health. Probiotics can support vaginal and urinary health, as well as sinus and nasal health. Certain probiotic strains can even whiten teeth and freshen breath.
Now research has revealed that probiotics can also have a positive effect on your mood, stress, and stress-related GI symptoms. You know…that tension in your tummy or stomach pain you have when you’re stressed or feeling down.
Two double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials have found that the combination of two specific probiotic strains—Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52 ME andBifidobacterium longum Rosell-175 ME—can help lift your mood and ease stress while reducing the associated symptoms of GI discomfort.
The first study tracked 75 healthy volunteers who had experienced as least two symptoms of stress (anxiety, nervousness, irritability, sleeping difficulties, or gastrointestinal disturbances) in the last month. After 3 weeks of taking the two probiotic strains, stomach pain improved nearly 87% compared to placebo and feelings of nausea and vomiting improved two-fold vs. placebo.
The second study followed 55 healthy participants for 30 days. The group that was given the two strains saw improvements in mood and stress symptoms. Specifically researchers found:
- Physical symptoms of worry, nervousness, stress, low mood, and sadness declined by 50%
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, lack of motivation, low mood, “the blues,” improved by 50%
- Anger and hostility improved 60%
- Cortisol levels decreased by 13%
Exactly how probiotics work to impact mood is unknown, but the experts have a couple of possible ideas to explain the beneficial effects:
Crowding out pathogens in the gut
Our gut is filled with a wide variety of organisms, some good, some bad. Certain pathogens in our gut produce substances shown to induce anxiousness and poor mood in animals. Taking probiotics helps to crowd out those pathogens so that they can’t create those known triggers that have a negative impact on your mood.
Reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines
A link has been drawn between poor mood and the amount of cytokines found in your body—the more cytokines there are, the worse your mood becomes. Probiotics may reduce inflammation in the gut, thus inhibiting the production of cytokines.
This body of research is exciting news for anyone who experiences periods of moodiness, nervousness, and stress. Probiotics offer a new way to address these issues safely and naturally. When evaluating probiotic formulas, be sure they contain these specific probiotic strains at the research dose of 3 billion CFU daily.
This article was republished with permission from nutri-health.com.
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