Health & Nutrition

Probiotics For Depression?

Normally probiotics are prescribed to patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other ailments of the digestive tract. The good bacteria bring a balance to the tract and helps reduce the amount of bad bacteria in the tract. But it seems that researchers found other properties the probiotics have which can help with ailments not related to the digestive tract. Researchers in the McMaster University in Canada found that consistent consumption of probiotics can help heal depression.

The research began when researchers wanted to check the effectiveness of probiotics against irritable bowel syndrome in elderly patients. One group of patients took the probiotics whereas the other group received a placebo. Besides reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in patients who took the probiotics, from those who also suffered from depression twice as many reported having improved moods as opposed to those taking the placebo.

Researches have for a long time considered the digestive tract the ‘second brain’ of man claiming there’s a direct relationship between the flora in our gut and brain function. This study shows additional proof to that idea according to the Canadian researchers and shows another way to get to the brain ‘through the stomach’.

Dr. Premysl Bercik, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster and a gastroenterologist for Hamilton Health Sciences and senior author of the study said: “This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS. This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders but also for patients with primary psychiatric diseases.”
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common digestive tract disorder around the world. It affects the large intestine and those who suffer from it feel pain and discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea and other symptoms. Often, anxiety or depression accompanies IBS.

The measuerement of the improved mood of these patients wasn’t just through the reports of those patients. It was actually corroborated with MRI brain scans of those patients who took the probiotics, showing improved brain function in the areas related to depression.


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