Stress, fatigue, depression. These are diseases of the 21-st century. Life today is different from years ago. Our modern diets, pollutants and chemicals in the environment, as well as the frequent and careless use of antibiotics change the balance in our guts making us more susceptible to infections, diseases, associated with metabolism and immunity. Let’s just imagine it. The inner shell of your intestine with all their grooves and elevations is larger as the total size of your skin. Furthermore, in the intestines are located the most part of the immune cells in the body – approximately 70-80%. The health of the microflora also has an impact on the state of the brain. The good news is that the scientists have established a link between probiotics and stress reduction. So, if you increase your daily intake of good bacteria, you can get rid of the pressure and the stress in your life.
Probiotics are active food supplements, containing live microorganisms. We know a lot for their useful qualities, but now the scientists from Oxford University have discovered something new – probiotics can affect people’s emotions. Actually, there is nothing strange in this conclusion, because the emotions are basically biochemical reactions in the body. The probiotics can reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
In the human’s guts live more than 7000 different types of bacteria that help digestion and are necessary for good health. According to a new study, however, the right combination of bacteria can lead to improved psychological health. Scientists suggest that intestinal bacteria have an impact on the immune system, but it does also give signals to the brain. In the study, which found a link between probiotics and emotions, it is explained that people who took probiotics spend less attention to negative information and are more attracted from the positive things around them.
This positive effect was observed also in patients, which are being treated for depression and anxiety disorders. Those who use food supplements with probiotic bacteria, worry less about threats and possible negative situations. Researchers still do not exactly explain why probiotics have such effects on the brain. One of the reasons is the errant nerve that transmits sensory information from the gut to the brain. The probiotic bacteria not only stimulates the synthesis of an amino acid, but its nevrotransmitarnite functions. Researchers found that the presence of probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract has a positive influence on the brain and reduces the states of depression and anxiety. Intestinal microflora is directly related to the central nervous system, so it is important that it is maintained in good condition with the help of the probiotics. Currently the treatment of nervous disorders is focused on the chemical processes in the brain, adjusting the level of neurotransmitters. But perhaps the future treatment will focus on the micro flora.
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body. Special microorganisms called beneficial bacteria living in the gut (intestine), where they help maintaining a healthy and balanced environment that is critical to your health. Some of the main reasons why people should take probiotics are:
- Treat and prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea. If you ever need to take antibiotics against infection, such as pneumonia or bacterial prostatitis, there is always the risk of diarrhea. Studies show that probiotic supplements help to successfully treat this condition.
- Reduce depression and anxiety. Is there anyone, who actually wants to take antidepressants or other drugs? For example, these two probiotic strains, Helveticus and B. Longum, were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in people who have been diagnosed with clinical depression.
- Help fight high cholesterol. Reduce a blood sugar level, which makes them very good solution for people suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Help to avoid diabetes. Studies have shown that intestinal environment significantly affects key factors causing inflammation, diabetes, insulin resistance, and body weight. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the gut using probiotics. New research of the BJN, for example, found that probiotic supplements are helping to prevent the diet induced insulin resistance.
- Armored immune system function. A number of probiotics have been known to stimulate the immune system and help to prevent common infections such as common cold and flu. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis report that in children and adults with respiratory tract infections, the use of Lactobacillus and Bifid bacterium, as compared to placebo, was associated with fewer days of illness, fewer days of illness per person and fewer days missed from school or work. Another study found that the use of probiotics (Plantarum and L. paracasei), compared to placebo, reduces the risk of catching infections and considerably reduces its symptoms.
Probiotics are not constantly in your body, so you should take them. Below are listed some of the best probiotic foods that can add to your daily menu.
- Yoghurt is the best known source of probiotics – good bacteria like lactobacillus and bifid bacteria maintain a healthy balance in your stomach. Studies show that probiotics alleviate lactose intolerance, as well as gas, diarrhea and other digestive problems. Probiotics are all foods that have undergone natural fermentation, namely:
- Black / natural chocolate – Probiotics can be found in high quality dark chocolate, up to four times more than the amount of probiotics in the dairy products. This is just one of the health benefits of chocolate.
- Japanese miso is soybean paste that is fermented. It is used to make traditional Japanese miso soup.
- Kefir – a drink rich in probiotics. According to the legend Kefir dates back to the shepherds of the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia. They found that the milk which they carried has the ability to ferment into a porous drink. Thick and creamy like yogurt, Kefir has its own probiotic bacteria, plus several additional varieties.
- Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is actually fermented cabbage (and other vegetables) and is not only extremely rich in healthy living organisms, but also helps to reduce the symptoms of some allergies. Sauerkraut also is rich in vitamins C, A, E and C.
- Tea “Kombucha” – It’s kind of fermented tea with a high content of beneficial probiotic bacteria. This probiotic drink used for centuries and is believed to energize the body; it improves health and maybe even helps you lose weight. However kombucha tea is not suitable for any case, especially if you have a problem with fungal infections.
It is still too early to solve emotional problems using only probiotics. But the results of the studies are a big step for the researchers who are beginning to pay more attention to the guts and try to understand what happens there. Probiotics are not only effective but they are also safe and inexpensive way to deal with depression. Although it is extremely important to our overall health, and even survival, scientists still know little about how our digestive system reacts to different stimulus.