How probiotics could help with anxiety and stress
The relationship between our brain and the gut can impact our mental wellbeing
Written by Hannah Byrne
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
When we talk about anxiety and stress, we rarely consider what’s going on in our gut as the source of some of these issues. However, research has shown that there is a link between our gut and our brains, and digestive problems can have an impact on our mental wellbeing.
How does the gut impact anxiety?
With trillions of both good and bad bacteria and yeast living in our gut, maintaining a natural balance can be important to our overall well being.
Research carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland in UCC has found that when there is a disruption in the balance of the bacteria in our gut, this bacteria can influence molecules called MicroRNA in the part of the brain that deals with anxiety and fear-related behaviour (the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala), causing us to feel anxious or stressed.
This research found that anxiety and stress can be triggered by a changing balance of bacteria in the gut, and balancing this bacteria can help to minimise stress and anxiety.
Research has also shown that experiencing stress or anxiety can lead to problems in your gut, highlighting the link between gut health and the mental wellbeing.
People suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have also been known to suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of the condition.
How can probiotics help with anxiety and stress?
Probiotics work by introducing ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria into the gut. This helps to keep the gut healthy and maintain a balance of bacteria in the body. Find out more about probiotics here.
By maintaining a healthy gut, we can keep the prefrontal cortex and amygdala working properly, and this will help to reduce anxiety and stress. Probiotics can restore a natural balance in bacteria and help to maintain that healthy gut. Because of these links between gut and brain health, probiotics could be beneficial for those experiencing anxiety and stress.
What probiotics could I take?
Sona Nutrition have a range of probiotics for a variety of needs. Their daily chewable probiotic Acidobifidus restores helpful bacteria and can help to maintain that healthy gut.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet. Click here for more on healthy eating.