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More than 15 million U.S. adults suffer from major depressive disorder each year.
And, while that number is staggering, anxiety surpasses depression as the number one psychiatric illness in our country, affecting 40 million adults or 18 percent of the population.
Although, you may think of anxiety and depression as a problem in your brain, your gut could have just as much if not more of a role.
In fact, more and more studies are showing that the health of your gut has a direct impact on your mental health.
Unfortunately, the medical community has not embraced this new research, still relying on prescription anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs to treat patients, leaving them with a whole host of side effects to contend with like fatigue, weight gain, blurred vision and even sexual problems.
This is a shame considering that healing your gut to restore balance and improve your mood not only causes no negative side effects; it actually improves your overall health and well-being as well.
Bad bacteria makes you sad and anxious
Researchers have long known that your brain sends signals to your gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to your gastrointestinal symptoms. But, studies have also shown that signals travel the opposite way as well, allowing your gut to affect your brain.
This means that if your gut is out of balance, with more bad bacteria than good, psychological symptoms can be the result.
And, there are many ways that bad bacteria build up in your gut.
These include eating too much sugar and carbohydrates, antibiotic use, consumption of pesticides on your foods, drinking cow’s milk, eating processed foods and more.
With this list it’s easy to see how your intestinal bacteria can quickly get out of balance.
And, when an imbalanced gut is transmitting information to your brain, you can end up with anxiety and depression.
This is why so many people never suffer from these issues until they start experiencing problems with their gut.
Optimal gut health leads to optimal mental health
So, since poor gut health leads to poor mental health, how can you optimize both?
The answer is simple…
Once thought of as just a fix for digestive problems, probiotics are demonstrating their power to heal your gut and improve your mood.
In fact, one study found that the probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, improved GABA levels — an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in regulating many psychological processes. And, it lowered the production of the stress hormone, corticosterone, reducing anxiety and depression related behavior.
And, another study demonstrated that the probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum, stopped anxiety related behavior in mice with infectious colitis by modulating the vagal pathways of the gut-brain connection.
One other study to investigate the possible effects on anxiety, depression, stress, and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers, used a probiotic containing Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175. The results showed that probiotic use alleviated psychological distress, particularly depression, anger-hostility, and anxiety, and improved problem solving when taken for 30 days.
Using probiotics to heal your gut
Taking probiotic supplements daily is one of the best ways to heal your gut and improve your depression and anxiety.
And, they’re easy to find either online or at your natural health store.
The recommended dosage for probiotics is at least 10 billion CFU’s per day.
You also want to eliminate the triggers for bad bacteria buildup like sugar, processed foods and antibiotic use that we talked about above.
Since probiotics come with no side effects other than better health, they also come with no worries.
So, if you’re ready to get rid of your anxiety and depression without the side effects of prescription drugs add probiotics to your daily routing to improve the health of your gut as well as your mental health.
Facts & Statistics — Anxiety & Depression Association of America
Anxiety Medication — Helpguide.org
Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve.
— Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The anxiolytic effect of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 involves vagal pathways for gut-brain communication. — Neurogastroenterology & Motility