How the bacteria in your gut affects your mood

July 01, 2014
Volume 11    |   Issue 26

You probably already know that bacteria are key in healthy digestion and immunity. But did you know they can affect your mood as well? One new study suggests they might even affect depression.

Researcher Timothy Dinan and his colleagues at University College Cork in Ireland are looking at what they are calling psychobiotics to discover other ways probiotics can help us. Dinan describes a psychobiotic as "a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness." They believe these bacteria can positively impact depression and other stress-related disorders.

Your gut contains approximately 1 kg of bacteria, but the makeup of it changes from day to day. Many factors affect it, from your diet to your stress level. Even the way you were delivered at birth affects your microbiota. And if you experienced severe stress early in life, such as maternal separation, this can alter your gut makeup for life. Dinan and his colleagues decided to see if they could reverse these effects with the right bacteria.

They studied rats who experienced depressive behavior as a result of maternal separation. The researchers treated them with the probiotic B. infantis. The effects of the probiotic were astonishing: the rats' behavior and their previously abnormal immune responses returned to normal. These results and others like it strongly suggest that probiotics can positively affect both behavior and immune system in humans.

One of the reasons psychobiotics work is that they have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation contributes to both depression and stress. In other cases, the cause of depression is infectious diseases like syphilis or Lyme disease. Psychobiotics trigger the immune system to help relieve the depressive symptoms. Dinan and his colleagues report that "the intestinal microbial balance may alter the regulation of inflammatory responses and in so doing, may be involved in the modulation of mood and behavior."

There haven't been many human studies yet to determine which of the many forms of probiotics could be considered psychobiotics — and whether psychobiotics are truly effective in humans. But a few small studies resulted in participants who took probiotics feeling less stressed and in better moods than those who took a placebo.

More research is needed, but early results are certainly promising. So instead of looking for another medication for depression or a stress-related condition, consider taking probiotics like Advanced Probiotic Formula and eating fermented foods. You may find that they're the missing link that allows you to feel better without drugs. And as an added bonus, your digestive system will benefit as well.

Continued Below...

How to beat almost any health problem... by rejuvenating every single cell in your body!

This European breakthrough can reverse the effects of aging in your body's cells. Studies show it leads to healthier cholesterol, a sharper memory, a stronger liver and more.

Click Here To Learn More

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


"Are Probiotics a Promising Treatment Strategy for Depression?" Science News, Nov. 14, 2013.

Free Report Reveals
How to Make Your Supplements Work Even Better.

Two powerful yet inexpensive nutrients are proven to have miraculous benefits.

Find out in your copy of How to Halt Cancer, Memory Loss, and Diabetes for Just Pennies a Day.

You'll get instant access when you sign up for Women's Health Letter. This free service brings you insider information on the latest nutrient breakthroughs.

Connect With Dr. Janet Zand

Connect with Dr. Janet Zand on the Advanced Bionutritionals Facebook Page for her latest advice on your most pressing health concerns, breakthrough developments in women's health, her favorite supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbs, special offers, and more.

Dr. Zand's Favorites
Find out about Dr. Zand's favorite vitamins, minerals, and herbs
Doctor's Favorites

View Vitamins & Supplements