Probiotics are beneficial micro-organisms found in certain foods such as yogurt. These good bacteria strains promote optimal gut health by countering the effects of bad bacteria in the digestive tract. But a new study suggests that not do probiotics contribute to healthy digestion, these good bacteria also play a role in making us feel better!
A team of researchers examined the Lactobacillus strain of probiotic bacteria found in yogurt in a 2017 study and how it affected mice exhibiting symptoms of depression. They supplemented the mice’s diets with live L. reuteri cultures, which is one of the many good bacteria strains found in yogurt. Depression symptoms in mice given L. reuteri were reversed. Based on this observation, the researchers uncovered the relationship between good bacteria and overall mood.
The team analyzed the intestinal bacteria in mice before and after they were subjected to stress. Mice subjected to stress had little to no Lactobacillus strains in their gut – which contributed to them experiencing depressive symptoms. Feeding stressed mice with probiotics-rich food alleviated their depression symptoms and restored their good bacteria levels to normal. “A single strain … is able to influence mood,” researcher and study author Alban Gaultier observed.
The research paper by Gaultier’s team said Lactobacillus levels in the gut inversely affect the levels of a depression-causing compound called kynurenine. Higher amounts of good bacteria lower the amount of kynurenine in the blood, while chronic stress increases it. Read more…