Well this brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘gut feeling:” Probiotics could be good for your emotional health as well as your tummy!
Probiotics are the good-for-you bacteria found in things such as yogurt and kombucha (plus in myriad dietary supplement forms) and alleged to help with digestion, immune-system functioning, stomach issues, diarrhea, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. Mark Lyte, a professor at Texas Tech University interested in the intersection of microbiology and neuroscience, thinks neurochemicals (such as serotonin) delivered directly to the gut via probiotics could help not just with gastrointestinal health but also psychological well-being.
Lyte’s theory, which was published in the July issues of BioEssays, has yet to be tested in humans. In a commentary in the same issue of BioEssays, though, Dr. Gregor Reid of the University of Western Ontario says the idea is supported by studies. “Could this mean that adjunct treatment for people suffering from certain types of mental health problems is a fecal transplant? Food for thought,” writes Reid (scientist humor!). Research on mice has shown microbial bacteria can produce and respond to neurochemicals, and that the connection between gut microbes and the nervous system provides “a viable route for influencing neurological function.”
Image via proprobiotics.com