Friday, May 11, 2018

Bacteria To Brighten Your Mood

Your gut is the new frontier of neuroscience. For some time, scientists have understood that the bacteria in our microbiomes affect overall physiology. More recently, they've discovered a connection between that bacteria and our brains - the gut-brain axis.

This knowledge has led to the concept of psychobiotics, the probiotics and prebiotics that can improve our mental health. Probiotics are live microbes found in fermented foods - think sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt. Prebiotics are bacteria that feed probiotics.

These bacteria are capable of producing and delivering neuroactive substances which act on the brain-gut axis. Evidence is emerging of benefits in alleviating symptoms of depression and of chronic fatigue syndrome.

As researchers explored other aspects of our microbiome, a team found dramatic microbiome imbalances in the feces of participants with bipolar disorder compared to the control group. This reinforces the hypothesis that there is a link between gut health and mental health.

This exciting new research may eventually allow doctors to prescribe psychobiotics as part of a mental-health treatment protocol.  Probiotics and prebiotics may someday be used, either alone or with other treatments to alleviate anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues - even, perhaps, autism and dementia.

As we become aware of this up-to-the-minute research, it reminds us to embrace a variety of whole foods, including fermented foods,  in our diet every day for optimal health, energy and well-being.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your (Fermented) Food 






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