Probiotic Yogurt as Natural Antidepressant

What is Probiotic Yogurt?

Probiotics are a type of “good” bacteria. This particular bacteria helps strengthening the immune system and improves general digestion process. The probiotic food can be purchased in any grocery or convenience store.

The cultures in probiotic yogurt work in the intestines and are symbiotic with your body. These micro-organisms help to fight off the “bad” bacteria by developing protein that kills it. Note that our bodies do not have the ability to create these types of bacteria themselves.

Sometimes when we take antibiotics, it is not too selective, killing both good and bad bacteria in our bodies, probiotic yogurt will help you to replenish your friendly bacteria.

There are different types of bacteria in these foods such as Lactobacillus. These are "friendly" bacteria that normally live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems without causing disease and protecting its environment from enemies.

It is been proven to be the most effective at helping improve the immune system and promote good health. One thing to note is that when you buy a probiotic food is to check and see how much cultures it contain. You can check this by looking at the label for CFU. CFU is colony forming units. You want anywhere from one billion to five million in your food or supplement. You can ask your doctor for more information and what brands he/she recommends.

Probiotic for Depression

While the positive effects of probiotic yogurt on your health and wellbeing have been already properly researched and documented, the recent Irish study has found the first evidence that probiotics benefit brain chemistry as well, helping in the treatment of anxiety and depression-related disorders.

For the study, a team of Canadian and Irish researchers regularly fed one group of mice a broth spiked with a strain of bacteria called lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1. Other mice were given a bacteria-free broth.

Normally timid creatures, the mice were put through a series of challenging experiments, such as being placed in a pool of water and forced to swim. The mice given the bacterial-enhanced diet seemed better able to cope with the stressful conditions. They showed far less anxiety and depression-like behavior than the bacteria-deprived rodents.

Blood tests also revealed they had lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone flowing through their veins. What’s even more remarkable is that there was evidence of a change in certain neurochemical receptors in the brain, according to the findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists say that bacteria in the gut ‘communicate’ with the brain via a nerve called the vagus. “This is the first-ever demonstration that harmless bacteria, found naturally in the intestine, can influence mood and behavior in a normal animal,” said John Bienenstock, a co-author of the study and director of the McMaster Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

Professor John Cryan of University College, Cork, added: “By affecting gut bacteria, you can have very robust and quite broad-spectrum effects on brain chemistry and behavior. Without overstating things, this does open up the concept that we could develop therapies that can treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut”.

The Canadian researchers, along with their Irish colleagues at University College Cork, eventually hope to conduct human trials. Much work needs to be done to prove that what helps mice can also benefit people. And even if further research establishes that bacteria can provided a lift to those who are stressed or depressed, it’s unlikely that you would get the same results from just any brand of yogurt.

Dr. Bienenstock noted the specific strain of lactobacillus used in the animal experiments is not currently found in commercial yogurts. “Not all probiotics are the same,” he said. “We tested bacteria that didn’t work. So these effects are very likely to be strain specific.” That suggests tests would have to be carried out on individual products to evaluate their mind-altering potential.

So, this is quite promising but mostly forward-looking approach, requiring additional research and development. As of today, you still have to choose more traditional ways dealing with your depression.


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