Why Probiotics Can Help Depression and Anxiety Naturally + Tips
7 minute read
Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems in the United States. As cases continue to increase, the search for effective therapies and treatment options has become the focal point for mental health medicine.
With traditional medications often not working or causing serious and unpleasant side effects, more natural options are sought. Probiotics seem to be the answer we have been looking for.
Your Gut and Your Brain Work Together
Specific bacterial families have been found to reduce anxiety. High potency probiotic supplements containing the Lactobacillus family of bacteria reduce anxiety-related behaviors. There does not appear to be a direct impact made on brain health, but rather multi strain probiotics improve mental health by way of the gut.
It is well known that probiotics improve gut health and digestion, but in doing so, they also impact your brain.
Because of the gut-brain axis, your brain and your gut microbiome communicate on a regular basis. That jittery feeling in your stomach when you are nervous and those sad feelings you get when you have an upset tummy are examples of this connection.
When your gut is unhappy, your brain receives different messages than when it is healthy and happy. In certain cases, anxiety and depression can be the result.
The specifics of the connection between brain and gut, the gut-brain axis, lie in the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria that live within your intestines. On any given day, good bacteria outnumber the bad and digestion, nutrient absorption, and intestinal health is optimal.
Because your gut bacteria also influence your immune system, this too is in top condition when your gut is balanced, and a healthy immune system keeps inflammation in check.
Poor diet, stress, illness, and medications like antibiotics can cause a shift in the bacterial balance. When harmful bacteria are allowed to multiply and take over, your health changes right along with the gut environment.
Harmful bacteria bring inflammation to your intestines, which damages the thin lining, allowing toxins to escape into your blood. Once these materials are traveling through your body, your immune system releases further inflammatory attacks.
Not only can inflammation reach your brain and cause damage, but the chemicals released as bad bacteria proliferate in your gut send specific and negative messages to your brain. Distress signals like these trigger inflammation, which can cause depressive symptoms. This is where a probiotic digestive health supplement comes in.
In addition to this, healthy bacteria produce serotonin and dopamine (the happy neurotransmitters) when they proliferate. Without these, your emotions will be adversely affected.
Currently, anxiety and depression are treated with therapy and medications. Depending on the severity of the condition, these do not always work.
When the cause of the symptoms lies in your gut, these treatment options will not work. The only way to improve the symptoms and boost your mood is to go right to the source. By addressing an unhealthy gut and inflammation with a pre and probiotic supplement, you can reduce and even remove all signs of anxiety and depression.
Natural Ways to Beat Anxiety and Depression
As different as anxiety and depression are, they commonly occur together. In many cases, one triggers the other and you experience symptoms of both.
The reason for this is that the same neurotransmitters are involved in both mental health problems. Probiotics can protect your brain from inflammation that triggers chemical changes in the brain, but there are additional remedies you can try too to ease any symptoms you may have:
Along with probiotics, a balanced diet is the best way to prevent the inflammation that triggers poor emotional health. Specifically, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid have been shown to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is the best approach to keeping your gut and your brain happy. You also need to cut back on sugar, which triggers insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which are harmful to your brain.
Physical activity triggers the release of serotonin, which boosts your mood. Studies have found that exercising every day promotes better emotional health and physical health.
Exercise also helps you to lose weight. Since obesity and depression are often linked, this is a great and natural way to enhance your overall well-being.
Calming an anxious mind is the best way to promote optimal mental health. Stress and overthinking as well as worrying about the past and future are common in both anxiety and depression.
When you train your mind to focus on the present only, all the clutter is removed, leaving you happy and healthy.
Lavender, valerian, and turmeric all possess compounds that work to calm your mind or reduce inflammation that can affect your emotional health.
| Related: 7 Signs and Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut |
Lavender oil helps to promote sleep and relaxation so is ideal for the end of the day. Valerian is a root that has also long been used for its sleep-inducing qualities. Turmeric is a common household spice that contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can protect your brain.
Fresh air helps you to clear your mind. Changing the scenery throughout the day gives you a break from what is likely causing you stress. In addition to this, the sun promotes vitamin D production, which elevates your mood naturally.
The Bottom Line
With antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications coming with side effects, more natural treatment options are preferred. With any of the natural remedies above combined with a course of probiotics, you can boost brain health and your resilience against these common diseases.
The brain and gut talk for a reason. As two of the most central systems in your body, it is important for them to maintain contact. Sadly, when one is unhappy, the other will follow suit.
While many things can contribute to anxiety and depression, you can make sure that your gut is not one of the reasons. Boost gut health with probiotics to protect your brain and promote your happiness.