Learning about anxiety and understanding its causes is of high importance, as it is actually normal, and most people experience some of its symptoms, like fear and panic, at least once in their lives.
These emotions peak between the ages of 30 and 44, and about 18 percent of Americans experience at least one anxiety episode annually.
Environmental and genetic factors are highly influential, but experts believe that there are also other potential associations and causes of anxiety, like nutrition and diet. They also maintain that there is a possible link between anxiety and gut health.
If this link exists, the use of probiotics would effectively treat depression and anxiety. Scientists have shown that anxious people often suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, and experience symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome, which are also called ‘co-occurring disorders’.
Probiotics are live bacteria (‘good’ bacteria) and yeasts which are beneficial for health and eliminate ‘bad’ bacteria. They can be of many types, and many foods we already consume are rich in them, like sauerkraut, yogurts, and sourdough breads.
Here is how probiotics improve mood and help in the case of mental disorders:
Treat inflammation, and some scientists believe that depression is an inflammatory disease
Elevate the levels of tryptophan which supports the release of serotonin; the ‘happy hormone’
Some strains, such as L. rhamnosus, lower the levels of the stress hormone corticosterone
Other strains, such as B. infantis, have powerful natural antidepressant properties
Yet, it has been found that the most beneficial probiotics in terms of mental health are Lactobacillus helveticus (L. helveticus) and Bifidobacterium longum(B. longum).
To boost your mental health and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, eat a diet rich in anti-anxiety foods, such as pickles, Korean kimchi, dark chocolate, dairy, and Japanese miso.
You can also take probiotic supplements several times a week.
Probiotics are safe, and they cause no side effects in most cases. In some rare cases, they can lead to mild gastrointestinal upset within the first three days of increasing the intake.
Also, they might raise the risk of side effects of other drugs, like corticosteroids, antibiotics, diet remedies, and immunosuppressants.