For those who thought probiotics were just for your digestive health, we’ve got some news for you.
New research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that two particular strains of probiotics — Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum –have “beneficial psychological effects in humans” and may play a key role in reducing some people’s anxiety.
The research by French scientists found that “levels of psychological distress, including measures of depression, anger-hostility, anxiety, and problem solving, were significantly improved in the probiotic group, compared with placebo.” According to the researchers:
These results provide further evidence that gut microflora play a role in stress, anxiety and depression, perhaps via the enteric nervous system as well as centrally. … Subject to the confirmation of these results, probiotics might offer a useful novel therapeutic approach to neuropathological disorders and/or as adjunct therapies in psychiatric disorders.
Research has shown probiotics to support immunity, as well as other important areas of one’s health. Probiotics, tiny microorganisms that help maintain a healthy balance of essential bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, are becoming increasingly popular in today’s health & nutrition market.
It is important to understand, though, that while some products claim to provide large quantities of probiotics, the diversity of strains, total bacterial count and protection of the probiotics are key elements in a powerful product.