Using Probiotics to Boost Your Mental Health: Myth or Reality?

The connection between our brain and our gut has already been proven.

But you surely knew about it long before scientists decided to look into it. Most women do. Have you never been so angry as to lose your appetite, experience stomach pain, or even nausea? There must have been at least one occasion when your gastrointestinal issues affected your mood, made you anxious or at leat irritable. 

Well, if the connection really works, the most effective remedies for gastrointestinal issues, namely probiotics, could help treat mental issues as well. It is too early to claim that probiotics can treat mental illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, although recent research points in this direction. 

However, they could play an important part in preventing and relieving anxiety and depression. They may also help prevent mood changes and irritability. But before you go about and start taking the first probiotic supplement you come across, let us review the connection between our gut and our brain a little closer. 

Our Gut as the Second Brain, Closely Connected to Primary Brain

Scientsts have found the explanation. They call our gut the little brain or the enteric nervous system. It is so „little” that it consists of two layers of nerve cells lining our entire gastrointestinal tract. We’re talking about more than 100 million nerve cells.

Sure, our gut has different functions. It doesn’t control thoughts, learning, or speech, but digestion. However, it communicates closely with our brain, and any digestive problems it signals trigger reactions from the brain, namely mood changes

It is already common knowledge that probiotics are among the best remedies for gastrointestinal health problems. New research suggests they may also play an important part in mental health, by influencing dopamine and serotonin levels. We will review some of the evidence in this sense in the following lines. 

Evidence That Probiotics May Improve Mental Health

  • A review of studies published in May 2019 concluded that regulating gut microbiota with the help of probiotics and dietary interventions may alleviate anxiety symptoms. 
  • A Harvard review of the evidence on the subject concluded that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function. 
  • A 2019 Frontiers in Endocrinology perspective article reviews several high-quality studies showing that probiotics may help treat depression and anxiety.

These reviews summarize tens of scientific studies that justify their conclusion, so the least you can do is accept their probability. After all, probiotics have numerous health benefits, some of them closely linked to mental health. 

From Vaginal, Digestive, and Immune Health to Better Mental Health With Probiotics

It’s been long proven that imbalances in gut and vaginal microbiota lead to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections and probiotics may be an effective way to prevent and treat them. These conditions bring about a wide range of negative, difficult to put up symptoms, such as: 

  • Irritation
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Vaginal discharges
  • Itching
  • Pain and soreness during intercourse

Through these symptoms, and just by knowing you have them, they influence your mood. How can you feel confident and beautiful, and enjoy life when you know you suffer from any of these two conditions and you experience such symptoms?  

Sex is usually out of the question and even if you have it you surely won’t enjoy it. No enforpines release, no orgasm to help relax your muscles, no sweet whispers to make you feel loved and appreciated. Your relationship could suffer, and, with it, so would your mental health. 

Perhaps you do not become depressed, but you surely develop some irritability or mood changes. You surely develop some degree of anxiety at the thought of passing on the infection to your spouse, of having your relationship affected, of not being able to cope wth your daily routine feeling as you do. 

Probiotics can keep your intestinal and vaginal flora in check or restore it if it’s been already altered. In doing so, they can prevent and treat bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Even if you resort to the standard treatment, antibiotics, you will still need probiotics to protect your gut against the nasty side effects. 

A safe and easy to take probiotic like the Queen V supplement could be the solution to all your problems. One pill a day and you will not have to worry about unpleasant symptoms or vaginal health issues. Nothing will prevent you from having sex, relaxing, and keeping up with your daily routine. 

And, because all things are connected, your irritability will fade, your mood changes will appease, and your anxiety will dissipate. Since probiotics have other health benefits as well, you will also enjoy better digestion, stronger immunity, and get your dose of antioxidants to enable your body to fight free radicals. 

Should You Start Taking Probiotics for Mental Health?

Although research in the field is advancing and more and more scientists confirm the conclusions above, „probiotics” is a general term, covering several strains of beneficial bacteria. Some strains may be better than others, and those that boost mental health have yet to be clearly identified. 

Until they are, you are safer using already studied probiotics to boost your physical and mental health. As you make your choice, pay special attention to the strains used, their viability, and the manufacturer’s quality testing protocols. 

You want a product that contains only heavily studied, beneficial, and safe strains, in quantities high enough to make a difference. Having prebiotics in its composition would help as well, as it would guarantee that the good bacteria can thrive once they reach your gut. 

The supplement and its manufacturer should also have excellent reputation. Finally, you want to make sure there are no side effects and, why not, have a safe and convenient packaging. These details can make a difference between you actually reaping the numerous health benefits of probiotics or going nuts taking them and spending hard-earned money on them.  

Not being able to take your pills with you, having to refrigerate them or take several pills a day, not seeing results, or experiencing side effects could become a source of stress and irritability. We’ve already established that the goal is to improve your mental health, not jeopardise it, so pay attention to details! 

Dani Fogel. is a Communication Coordinator at Brandable, based in Los Angeles, CA. She works on the Queen V brand within the company’s Digital and Ecommerce department.

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