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Probiotics and Brain Function

April 20, 2016

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It's no secret that probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of good gut bacteria, which has a positive impact on our health in so many ways. But now there's scientific evidence that probiotics and brain function are also related – meaning probiotics may make your smarter.

How can probiotics give you a sharper mind?

The idea the probiotics can affect your health is not new. But the idea that your body's bacteria can also extend to the human brain growing in popularity. 

Researchers around the world are investigating how the microbiome, as this bacterial ecosystem is known, regulates how people think and feel. Scientists have found evidence that this assemblage—about a thousand different species of bacteria, trillions of cells that together weigh between one and three pounds—could play a crucial role in autism, anxiety, depression, and other disorders. - When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function

British researcher John Cryan, a University College Cork neuroscientist, and his team discovered a new strain of probiotic that may actually lead to better cognitive function. He found that "probiotics can enhance learning in animal models", a claim that neuropsychiatrist Dr Jon Lieff, former president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, agrees is a good possibility. Because bacteria in the gut are critical for so many important functions within the body, the idea of probiotics being able to make people smarter is sound. According to Lieff, some bacteria strains are able to form new neural connections by stimulating the production of a memory and learning enhancing protein. 

In the same way that feelings of anxiety or nervousness stemming from the brain cause that jittery, fluttering feeling in your stomach, the reverse also happens - through the same "pipeline", called the vagus nerve, information travels the opposite way, from the gut to the brain. So if your gut is unhealthy, it can make you feel depressed or cause anxiety. Studies have shown that correcting unhealthy gut balance by adding certain probiotics has helped to relieve anxious behaviours in mice.

It's also interesting to note that researchers have found a connection between gut flora and brain development - imbalanced or poorly developed gut flora can result in a number of symptoms, including some that may be diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.

More and more research is pointing to the fact that a healthy gut is important in a variety of ways, from overall health to the moods we experience. Make sure your gut has the proper amount of good bacteria to help you experience optimal health in all ways - contact us for a full spectrum of probiotic supplements.

 

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