A new study, published on Nov 15, 2013 in Biological Psychiatry, shows that probiotics might be more aptly named psychobiotics for their mind and mood enhancing effects.
The latest statistics estimate that about one in every ten Americans now takes an antidepressant, and antidepressants are the third most prescribed form of medication.
Whether because of personal preference, unwanted side effects, cost or other reasons, there are many folks looking for alternative, holistic solutions to treating depression and anxiety.
Natural supplements like St. John’s Wort, Maca Root, Valerian, 5-HTP, GABA, and holistic therapeutic modalities such as acupuncture, massage, meditation, earthing™, reiki are all being used to support and treat depression, but now there is a new player on the field, and this one is a game changer:
Preclinical studies suggest that the gut microbs in depressed individuals are decreased in both amount and in variety.
If the natural flora of the gut is diminished in depression, then restoring the natural vitality and variety of healthy organisms in the digestive tract might be a very powerful way to improve outcome in depression (and other mood disorders, such as anxiety.)
Improved mood was shown in several different clinical studies: one study showed decreased depression when participants received probiotic supplements for 30 days, and another study reported clinically significant improvement in mood when participants ate probiotic-containing yogurt for 3 weeks.
Yet another study showed that participants with chronic fatigue syndrome who consumed probiotics three times a day reported significantly less anxiety compared to those who did not.
We know there is a huge link between the gut and the brain already — not only scientifically but also energetically.
The gut is our major center for processing emotions, and this is inextricably connected to our mood.
You already know this intuitively.
- How many times have you had an anxious thought that resulted in a knot in your stomach and nervous diarrhea afterwards?
- Or felt depressed and down, with resulting sluggish bowel movements or painful constipation?
- Read more about this important link between the solar plexus, digestion, and emotions here.
Using probiotics as an alternative or adjunctive therapy to support healthy mood as well as healthy digestive function makes sense both medically and energetically.
More studies are needed to find out which probiotic strains are most effective and in what amount… in short, to figure out which probiotics are potent “psychobiotics.”
Here are the 4 most promising new, holistic therapies to decrease depression and anxiety:
1. Probiotics — decreasing depression, fatigue and anxiety, try adding probiotics to your diet every day for one month and track your mood… you’ll notice healthier bowel movements, healthier skin and even support your immune system to boot!
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids — shown to improve symptoms in ADHD and decrease postpartum blues, omega fatty acids are a must have to soothe and support your entire body inside and out, from skin to brain.
3. Coconut oil — shown to help feed the brain by directly providing and energy source, coconut oil has been found to reduce Alzheimer symptoms. Thanks to the Medium Chain Trigligyrides (MCT) coconut oil supports healthy brain function and decreases anxiety and depression… try making these easy and delicious supplements yourself, in five minutes flat!
4. Vit D — The link between low levels of Vit D and depression has long been established, but newer research suggests that Vitamin D supplements, taken for 12 weeks, can reverse depressed mood. Most of us are Vit D deficient, particularly during the dark winter season, so this is a great time to give Vit D supplements a try!
Share this list with your friends, family and loved ones… you never know who suffers silently from a mood disorder and could use the support.
Especially during the winter months… Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)… the “winter blues” are so common, and these natural ways to support our innate sense of well-being couldn’t come at a better time.
With much love and support…