If the recent scientific discovery on how probiotics affect mice holds true for humans. Then you should eat your probiotic-enriched yogurt and “feel” happy. Literally.
1.Eat Probiotics and “Feel” Happy
Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the gut and support the health of the host. All kinds of claims were made on the health benefits of probiotics, but happiness? Not yet. Be prepared. Television screens across the US may soon stream commercial videos of gloomy human faces bursting into joy at the taste of a spoon of yogurt.
Scientists from Canada and Ireland have reported that the probiotic found bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus. These have anti-depression and anti-anxiety effects in mice. In other words, scientists are saying that probiotics modulate emotional behavior. They are presenting direct molecular evidence.
2.Cure Stomach Problems
People who suffer from many gastrointestinal problems such as
- irritable bowel syndrome,
- stress-related stomach reactions,
- and problems arising from being lactose intolerant.
They may find relief with probiotics. Doctors have even recommended the use of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning. It also use it to aide in the treatment of diarrhea caused from viruses, antibiotics, or other drug treatments.
The number one food source for probiotics is yogurt. They can also be found in other foods such as powdered milk, buttermilk, sour cream, cheeses, and some frozen desserts.
3. Probiotics and Brain Function
Scientists have long suspected interplay between gut probiotics and brain, and christened the link as “microbiome-gut-brain axis”. Evidence proves this link is disturbed in mice suffering from bowel disorders.
Even in humans, doctors have recognized, what is referred to as comorbidity in medical terms. The interrelation between gastrointestinal problems and stress-related psychiatric disorders.
However, so far, direct evidence linking bacteria living in the stomach and stress response remained elusive. Well, the evidence is out. A recent research paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences US, carries direct evidence.
4. Probiotics as Antidepressants
Scientists at the University College Cork, Ireland, and McMaster University, Canada, treated mice with Lactobacillus rhamnosus. A type of probiotic bacteria living in the gut, for 28 days and conducted a series of tests relevant to anxiety and depression.
They discovered that mice treated with probiotics exhibited less stress and anxiety compared to the ones treated without the bacteria. Even the level of corticosterone, a stress-induced hormone, went down.
Interestingly, probiotics altered the expression of GABA receptors in the mice brain. GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter that modulates neuronal excitability and influences depression and anxiety.
5.Vagus Nerve Stimulation
What excited the scientists was their discovery that the stress relaxing effects of probiotics on mice brain take place through the vagus nerve. When scientists surgically removed the vagus nerve, the mice no longer exhibited the stress relaxing effects of probiotics.
The involvement of the vagus nerve opens up new avenues of research. Vagus nerve stimulation has therapeutic benefits in brain seizures and late-stage depression.
Scientists suspect that the probiotics are up to something a little more than changing the mood of the mice. Getting to the bottom of it may open new opportunities for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and many other psychological disorders.
Given the compelling evidence on the direct influence of probiotics on brain function. Scientists are understandably excited to conduct more experiments in this newfound area of interest. The days of doctors advising patients to “eat your yogurt” may not be too far.
When you eat yogurt you are getting 2 different kinds of probiotics such as:
- Streptococcus thermophilus and
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
These two probiotics decrease lactose intolerance. It helps to prevent diarrhea that is caused by some bacterium. If you do eat yogurt.
Be sure to closely read the label to be sure that it says that the cultures are active! That is very important, as only the live bacteria will give you the health benefits.