Are you aware of the crucial connection between your gut and other mental health issues? Recent studies have shown that the gut and brain are closely linked, and a healthy gut can lead to improved mental wellbeing. In this article, we will explore the best probiotic supplements of 2023, that can help you foster a healthy gut and, consequently, a healthier mind.
The gut-brain connection is a fascinating area of research that has gained momentum in recent years. It refers to the bi-directional communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, whereby gastrointestinal health can influence psychological wellbeing. Research suggests that probiotic supplements may help improve symptoms of gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) while providing essential nutrients for brain and body health, such as fiber and antioxidants. Incorporating probiotics and prebiotic foods into one's diet may be beneficial in promoting healthy microflora and reducing stress, some anxiety disorders, and depression.
Studies have demonstrated that individuals with IBS often experience anxiety due to reduced microbial diversity within their gut. Additionally, approximately 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are located in the intestines, and a disproportionately high number of people with IBS develop depression and anxiety. Probiotics play a crucial role in supporting gut health, and unsweetened, full-fat products containing live cultures good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, are recommended.
Psychobiotics are probiotics specifically formulated to promote mental health. Studies have demonstrated that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus casei can boost mood and reduce anxiety symptoms in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome and digestive issues.
Another psychobiotic, Lactobacillus helveticus can protect against negative changes in the gut microbiome, reduce neuroinflammation and anxiety, lower stress hormone levels, treat anxiety and increase serotonin levels.
Bifidobacterium breve is another beneficial psychobiotic option if anxiety is impacting cognition and interfering with task completion.
Yourbiology: Gut+ is a scientifically-formulated probiotic and prebiotic supplement designed to improve digestive health, balance gut microbiome, and promote overall wellness. It contains high-quality probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus Plantarum, that help break down foods and increase absorption for optimal results.
Biotics 8 is an all-natural probiotic formula produced by Bauer Nutrition that is designed to support digestive health, generate energy, and promote digestion. It contains probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a variety of digestive enzymes that work to improve gut health and general wellbeing.
DS-01 is a daily synbiotic probiotic supplement containing 24 select strains of probiotics and prebiotics that have been clinically and scientifically studied. It is designed to provide benefits for gastrointestinal function, skin health, heart health, and whole-body health.
Daily Probiotic is a supplement containing the active ingredient Lactobacillus acidophilus, a common probiotic found in fermented foods. It is designed to support a balanced gut and immune system.
Onnit: Total Gut Health is a dietary supplement formulated to support optimal gut health. It contains digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, and betaine HCl.
CFUs, or colony-forming units, are a unit of measurement used to calculate the quantity of bacterial cells in a probiotic supplement or laboratory sample. When selecting a probiotic, CFUs and potency are of particular importance, as they indicate the number of viable cells in the probiotic, which can ultimately determine its effectiveness. Generally, higher CFUs and potency suggest a more effective probiotic.
To verify the potency of a probiotic, examine the label of the supplement, which should display the CFUs per serving, and consider third-party testing and certification.
Aside from taking probiotic supplements, there are other ways to obtain probiotics organically. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods, prebiotic foods, and even playing in the dirt can help you get the beneficial bacteria that your gut needs.
In the following sections, we will explore these alternative methods of obtaining probiotics for a healthy gut and mind.
Probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso, contain live bacteria that can contribute to gut health. These foods have been suggested to have a positive impact on many mental health problems, such as reducing anxiety and depression.
When consuming fermented foods, it is advised to avoid heating these foods, as it can destroy their beneficial properties. Opting for traditionally fermented soy sauce and avoiding vegetables that are merely submerged in vinegar are also essential tips to keep in mind when seeking out probiotic-rich foods.
Prebiotic-rich foods are found in a variety of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Examples of prebiotic-rich foods include legumes, garlic, onions, oats, barley, and dark chocolate.
Consuming these foods can help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby contributing to a healthy gut and improved mental health.
While probiotics have been shown to provide numerous health benefits, there are potential risks and precautions to consider. These include allergy concerns, long-term use, interactions with medications, and the importance of consulting healthcare professionals prior to taking probiotics.
By being aware of these potential risks and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that you are using probiotics safely and effectively.
Certain ingredients in probiotic supplements and probiotic foods may induce allergic reactions in individuals who are particularly sensitive, especially those with milk or yeast allergies. Generally, probiotic strains themselves are unlikely to cause any allergic reaction in most people, though they may be a risk factor for those with weakened immune systems, those who have undergone surgery, and those who are severely ill.
It is essential to be mindful of potential allergens in probiotic supplements and foods, thoroughly read the label, and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any probiotic supplement.
While probiotics are generally considered safe for short-term use, and for fixing existing medical problems but there have been reports of side effects when it comes to long-term use. It is possible that extended use of probiotics may result in an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, which can cause digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any probiotic supplement for an extended period of time.
Probiotics can interact with certain medications, and it is essential to consult a healthcare professional regarding potential interactions with antibiotics, antifungals, and immunosuppressants.
By discussing your medical history, current medications, and any potential allergies with a healthcare professional, you can ensure that the probiotics you choose do not interfere with any medications you are taking.
In conclusion, the gut-brain connection is a fascinating area of research with significant implications for mental health. Probiotic supplements offer an effective way to improve gut health and, consequently, improve mental health and wellbeing. By choosing the right psychobiotic supplement, incorporating probiotic-rich and prebiotic foods, and being aware of potential risks and precautions, you can take control of your gut health and pave the way for a healthier mind.
Overall, the most effective form of probiotic is one that contains at least 1 billion colony-forming units and contains the genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus, or Saccharomyces boulardii. These are the most commonly researched strains of probiotics and have been linked to the greatest potential health benefits.
For an unhealthy gut, probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus fermentum may be beneficial in restoring balance to the bacterial environment. Taking these probiotics daily can help promote a healthier and beneficial gut bacteria and support the body's natural processes.