Most people are familiar with the gastrointestinal and immune boosting benefits of probiotics. Did you know, however, that the good bacteria can also improve brain function?
There’s some evidence that probiotics can help with memory enhancements and they’re also beneficial against depression or anxiety.
A Connection Between The Gut And The Brain
As weird as the statement may seem, there appears to be connection between the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.
Probiotics play an important role in protecting the body against pathogens. Many people don’t know that the first line of defense against harmful microorganisms is in the gut.
Probiotics have the power to kill disease-causing bacteria or to control the growth of their colonies.
There’s a serious connection between the gut and the nervous system. Here’s how the link works.
Many nerve endings are connected to the GI tract. They send signals about satiety and hunger. A complex system of neurons leads to the gut. This is the main reason why the digestive tract is sometimes even called the body’s second brain.
The vagus nerve is the one that is the connection between the gut neurons and the central nervous system. This is the longest cranial nerve and it reaches from the brain stem right down to the abdomen.
The microorganisms in the gut can thus send an array of messages to the brain. This connection is the one that leads to the beneficial effect that probiotics have on cognitive function.
Probiotics, Brain Function And Memory
An altered gut flora can lead to a wide array of health problems. The link has already been established through a number of clinical studies.
Researchers have found out that people suffering from obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease experience an overgrowth of pathogens in the gut. The very same applies to some of the individuals that go through cognitive decline and depression.
There are several theories about the positive effect of probiotics on the brain, regardless of the fact that researchers still aren’t certain about the mechanism.
For a start, probiotics could potentially promote the growth of neurons. There’s evidence that some of the bacteria in the gut stimulate the production of neural growth factors that repair and restore neurons.
Researchers have also found out that certain kinds of probiotics produce an array of chemicals that stimulate different parts of the brain. Some of the activation occurs in regions of the brain responsible for attention and memory.
Finally, some of the probiotics play a role in the production of neurotransmitters. Potentially, this could be the mechanism in which the beneficial bacteria in the gut could have a positive effect on individuals suffering from anxiety and depression.
On top of these brain benefits, probiotics could also be responsible for producing mood enhancements.
Healthy people that don’t suffer from cognitive impairments or depression are particularly likely to experience such benefits from the selection of a probiotic supplement or fermented foods.
A few clinical studies suggest that volunteers who are taking a probiotic supplement are less likely to experience negative feelings than the ones that are given a placebo.
It’s still not clear how this happens. One thing is certain, however, if you want to be more concentrated and happier, you should definitely consider probiotic supplementation.
Choosing The Right Probiotic For Memory Enhancement
Which probiotics are the ones that contribute to memory and mood enhancements? What does it take to pick the right supplement?
Broad-spectrum probiotics are typically the best ones. When looking for such a product, choose bacterial strains recognized for their ability to strengthen the immune response and kill some of the pathogens found in the gut.
Obviously, more research will be required to identify the best types of probiotics for experiencing memory enhancement. Scientists are yet to identify the exact mechanism in which the brain is affected by good bacteria.
The benefits of probiotic supplements are well-known, however. If you want to experience wellbeing in an all-natural way, you should definitely opt for such a supplement.