It’s safe. It’s affordable. There are no side effects (well, except GOOD ones that is). And it can effectively relieve depression, according to researchers at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.
I’m talking about a probiotic, as exciting new research confirms gut bugs could turn out to be the all-natural solution to driving away the blues.
The key is a kind of bacteria called Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001, already found naturally in your gut. And also available in probiotic supplements.
In a new study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers revealed that the belly bug tackled depression in well over half of the volunteers who took the supplement.1
In the pilot study 44 folks with IBS who were suffering from mild to moderate depression or anxiety were followed for 10 weeks. Half of the volunteers took a Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 supplement and half took a placebo.
Probiotic improved depression in 64% of users
At week six researchers were stunned to find that the folks taking the probiotic were twice as likely to have experienced an improvement in their depression. Fourteen of the twenty two volunteers taking the probiotic, or 64 percent, had significantly decreased depression scores.
And here’s where it gets really interesting!
It wasn’t just that the folks felt better either, which they did, but the researchers were also able to see the actual changes taking place in their brains.
Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) they revealed the volunteer’s improvements in depression scores matched changes in multiple areas in their brains that are linked to mood control.
In other words, the researchers were able to literally track their depression as it lifted!
This latest study adds to a growing stack of research on the relationship between our belly bugs—known collectively as our gut microbiome—and our brains.
In fact, experts say there’s evidence that our gut bacteria are in direct communication with our brains. And these powerful bacteria can even create and respond to hormones and neurotransmitters.
GABA triggers relaxation and relieves stress
For example, the Bifidobacterium species in particular produces the amino acid neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA sends chemical messages through our brains and nervous systems.2,3
Studies show GABA significantly increases alpha waves and decreases beta wave activity in our brains. And the neurotransmitter triggers relaxation and relieves anxiety.4
Both animal studies, and now a groundbreaking human study, confirm Bifidobacterium longum can help relieve anxiety and depression, too.5,6 And while more study is needed, of course, the good bug’s connection to GABA could be a clue to how the bacteria help fight depression.
There’s no denying our gut microbiota and our brains are linked. If you sometimes struggle with depression or anxiety why not put that connection to work for you? Talk with your doctor about making probiotics a part of your treatment plan.
You’ll find supplements containing Bifidobacterium longum both online and anyplace supplements are sold.
1. “Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: a Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” Gastroenterology, May 2, 2017, Volume 0, Issue 0, [In Press]
2. “Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour,” at Rev Neurosci. 2012 Oct;13(10):701-12
3. “The Gut Microbiome and the Brain,” J Med Food. 2014 Dec 1; 17(12): 1261–1272
4. “Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans,” Biofactors. 2006;26(3):201-8
5. “Interactions between commensal intestinal bacteria and the immune system,” Nature Reviews Immunology 4, 478-485 (June 2004)
6. “Gut Feelings: Bacteria and the Brain,” Cerebrum. 2013 Jul-Aug; 2013: 9
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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