Stress and anxiety are common challenges in our world today, but there are ways to combat them. Interestingly, one of these ways is by caring for your gut’s health. Current research hints at some ways in which probiotics can help improve anxiety symptoms by promoting a healthy gut.
Both psychological and external factors can lead to feelings of anxiety, especially in the wake of polarizing events and issues. Some of the most common sources of anxiety today include:
A developing body research also suggests that your gut’s health may have a relationship with anxiety and stress. Some types of bacteria in the gut have been associated with mental health, including our ability to handle stress.
There are a few connections between your gut and your mental health, including when it comes to anxiety.
It comes down in part to the fact that you have a specialized nervous system that regulates your gut. This nervous system interfaces with your brain through the vagus nerve, which means the two can influence each other in impactful ways.
The proportions of beneficial to harmful bacteria can play a major role in the kinds of signals sent to your brain. If there’s an imbalance, you may have a harder time coping with stress, leading to feelings of anxiety. Therefore, correcting that imbalance could make it easier to manage anxiety.
Inflammation may also play a role. An imbalance in gut bacteria may lead to inflammation, and that may contribute to increased feelings of anxiety. Conversely, introducing the right kinds of bacteria can reduce inflammation and curb the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
There’s mounting evidence demonstrating how introducing certain bacteria into the gut can help you cope with anxiety and stress. It’s a fairly new area of research, but it shows some promise.
Some of the current research in this area includes the following studies:
While the research is still young, there is some reason to believe that probiotics—and specific strains of bacteria in particular—can help regulate symptoms of stress and anxiety.
It’s worth noting that not all probiotics have a positive impact on anxiety. Only specific strains—referred to as psychobiotics—are associated with this particular area, which means those are the ones that should be introduced into your system if you’re trying to manage anxiety.
More research is needed before we’ll fully understand the relationship between probiotics and anxiety, but studies show that mental health benefits seem to come largely through the following processes:
Along with therapeutic treatments, probiotics could play a valuable supporting role in interventions for anxiety and stress.
Some of the most common questions people ask when it comes to using probiotics for stress and anxiety include the following: