The Psychology of Your Gut
Have You Heard of Psychobiotics?
The microbes in our gut have far reaching psychological effects. In 2013 there was a ground breaking study proving that depressed mice were positively affected by a strain specific probiotic. Around the same time, the term ‘psychobiotic’ was used to describe a notable change in the character of rats who received a fecal transplant. Gut psychology has gained continuous footing since then.
Five years later we have much more reliable data that includes human trials. What we know is the effects are gradual. It takes 3 to 4 weeks to see results. This is why I begin with a 30 day reset and all my new patients sign on for at least a two month Case Review.
Will any Probiotic Work?
Good quality probiotics will adhere to the gut more effectively and therefore will stay longer which we want.
Information on the effectiveness of specific strains of probiotics for certain conditions is now available. I’m enjoying seeing the results of adding these to treatment strategies for people suffering from anxiety, eczema, chronic constipation or diarrhea.
Some strains can be disruptive in certain conditions. If you react to a product it may be that your specific type of gut imbalance is why. This is why single strains can be good. Also look for not only the genus and species but also the number after it. You know it is excellent quality if the company is able to show this.
Strain Specific for Mental Health & Even Sleep Deprivation
Here are a few examples from the research:
Lactobacillus casei shirota helps with mood but not with anger or anxiety.
Bifidobacterium longum and lactobacillus helveticus can be used to treat anger, depression, anxiety and perception of pain.
Bifidobacterum longum 1714 reduces feelings of stress.
Bifidobacterium bifidum reduces stress in those who are chronically sleep deprived.
Making These Available
One of the biggest challenges is finding products for people that are good quality. Patients often bring in a bag of supplements bought at Costco or online that are not going to help them. Making good quality products available is important for these reasons:
Bioavailability: either they are in a tablet or the form of the nutrient is not bioavailable. In some cases this can be harmful.
Not expired: buying online through Amazon or other large distributors can mean that the product has been sitting around for awhile.
Cross contamination: A popular probiotic was recently recalled by the FDA. Licensed practitioners were told to return the product due to cross contamination. If you buy from a 3rd party you risk missing recalls like this.
Too many things at once: Often products have too many ingredients and not good quality of what is needed. You body may get more benefit from less.