Monthly Archives: January 2017

Magnesium Deficient People 76% More Likely to Get Pancreatic Cancer – 80% of Us Are Magnesium Deficient

 

Source: Instructables
Magnesium is used by every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys. It is critical for proper functioning of over 300 metabolic reactions in the human body. Researchers have also identified 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins. (Mercola, 2015)
“To name a few (uses), the nutrient is necessary for neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity; mitochondrial protein, DNA and RNA synthesis; and glucose homeostasis, active transport, and glutathione and ATP production.
“Conversely, inadequate magnesium levels can contribute to insomnia, seizures, anxiety, pain, and other neuropsychiatric problems.
“Low dietary intake and low magnesium serum levels are associated with numerous critical health conditions including, hypertension, elevated C-reactive protein levels, TNF alpha, triglycerides, and fasting glucose; decreased high-density lipoprotein;  sudden cardiac death; type 2 diabetes; metabolic syndrome;  asthma; and osteoporosis.  In one study, dietary-induced magnesium deficiency (longer than four weeks) in lean subjects led to a reduction in insulin sensitivity.” (Bartlik, Bijlani, & Music, 2014)
Yet magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in American adults. About 80% of us consume far too little of this necessary, anti-inflammatory mineral – to our great detriment. (Ware, 2016)
Decades of research have demonstrated the importance of getting enough magnesium but magnesium deficiency is often overlooked as a cause of poor health. (Axe, 2016)

 

 

MAGNESIUM’S HEALTH BENEFITS

These are some of the many vital health benefits provided by magnesium:

 

magnesiumbenefitsv2

 

The body requires magnesium to perform other important functions, including:
  • Metabolizing food
  • Synthesizing fatty acids & proteins
  • Transmitting nerve impulses
  • Handling stress & relieving anxiety
  • Protecting against arthritis & Alzheimer’s
  • Protecting against insulin resistance & diabetes
  • Protecting against metabolic syndrome
  • Protecting bone health
  • Protecting against colon cancer
  • Protecting against pancreatic cancer
  • Treating high blood pressure, diabetes & respiratory issues
  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creating energy in the body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates & fats
  • Serving as a building block for RNA & DNA synthesis
  • Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
  • Detoxifying the body to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins
 – (Fassa, 2016), (Mercola, 2015), (Ware, 2016) & (Williams, 2016)

 

 

SIGNS OF A MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

  • High blood pressure & cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney & liver damage
  • Peroxynitrite damage that can lead to migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma & Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium & potassium
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Worsened PMS symptoms
  • Anxiety, behavioral disorders & mood swings
  • Insomnia &  trouble staying asleep
  • Osteoporosis
  • Recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low levels of nitric oxide or a depressed immune system
  • Tooth cavities
  • Muscle weakness & cramps
  • Impotence
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Type II diabetes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Poor memory
  • Confusion
Increased magnesium intake is given to resolve these issues.
– (Axe, 2016) & (Fassa, 2013)

 

 

 

FIBROMYALGIA AND MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

There’s strong evidence that fibromyalgia is also linked to a magnesium deficiency. (Atlanta Pain Management Center, 2014)

 

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Source: Alliance Spine and Pain Centers

 

 

MENTAL ILLNESS AND MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

An association between magnesium deficiency and mental illnesses has also been found. Conversely, supplementation with magnesium has been found effective in resolving many psychiatric problems. (Bartlik, Bijlani, & Music, 2014)

Mental Illnesses Associated with Increasingly Severe Neuronal Magnesium Deficiency

Source: PristineHydro

 

 

MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY AND PANCREATIC CANCER

 

Source: Medical Dialogues
Source: Medical Dialogues
Incidence and death rates for pancreatic cancer rates are both on the rise. (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2013).

 

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research
Source: American Institute for Cancer Research
Some statistics on pancreatic cancer from The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, which reported an average rise of 0.06%/year in recent years:
Estimated new cases in 2016: 53,070
Estimated deaths in 2016: 41,780
Percent surviving 5 years (2006-2012): 7.7%
Prevalence of this cancer: In 2013, there were an estimated 49,620 people living with pancreatic cancer in the United States.
 – (National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, 2016)
Source: Yashoda Hospitals
You can greatly decrease your risk of developing this deadly form of cancer by increasing your daily magnesium intake.
“In a landmark human study, there were marked reductions in pancreatic cancer risk in those who ingested higher amounts of magnesium primarily in dietary supplements.” (Faloon, 2016)

 

Source: Healthable

 

 

 

 

MAGNESIUM, CALCIUM AND COLON CANCER

 

Source: Dan Purser, MD

 

Magnesium and calcium in the proper ratio provide protection against colorectal cancer and the  recurrence of colorectal polyps. Polyps in the colon and rectum are a precursor to colorectal cancer. (Life Extension Update, 2008)
Studies have shown colon cancer risk reductions in response to higher magnesium intake. (Faloon, 2016)

 

 

MIGRAINES AND MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

If you’re a migraine sufferer, this is for you.
Source: Eden
“It’s generally accepted that migraines are a result of changes in blood flow to the brain. The difficulty in eliminating migraine headaches stems from the fact that there are dozens of different “triggers” that can cause these blood flow alterations. These can include stress, skipping meals, lack of sleep, hormone imbalance, temperature or barometric pressure changes, bright lights, loud noise, strong odors, exertion, mineral and/or vitamin deficiencies, and many others.
“One of the most commonly overlooked migraine triggers is a magnesium deficiency. The precise role of this mineral in the development of migraines is still being unraveled, but we do know that magnesium deficiencies allow serotonin levels to flow unchecked. A serotonin increase causes vascular spasms, which then reduces blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It also brings about the release of other pain-producing chemicals.
“Studies show that up to 50 percent of migraine patients have lowered levels of magnesium during an attack, and an infusion of the mineral can provide rapid and sustained relief. Additionally, routine oral use of magnesium can reduce both the frequency and severity of such attacks.” (Williams, 2016)

 

 

 

 

WHY HAS MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY BECOME SO COMMON?

Source: Slideshare
This is how Dr Josh Axe’s answers that question:
“A few factors are at play: soil depletion that lowers the amount of magnesium present in crops; digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut; high rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilized from foods.
“The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.
“The kidneys primarily control levels of magnesium within the body and excrete magnesium into the urine each day, which is one reason why urinary excretion is reduced when magnesium and other electrolyte statuses are low. Magnesium is actually the least abundant serum electrolyte in the body, but it’s still extremely important for your metabolism, enzyme function, energy production, and for balancing nitric oxide (NO) in the body.” (Axe, 2016)
Bartlik, Bijlani, & Music also mention:
“Despite its benefits, many people are magnesium are deficient due to the frequent consumption of highly processed foods in the standard American diet and modern water treatment processes that remove magnesium from the water supply.” (Bartlik, Bijlani, & Music, 2014)
Source: Pinterest
Medical and Naturopathic doc Carolyn Dean says “Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams.” (Mercola, 2015)
Dr Mercola adds that “herbicides, like glyphosate also act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in so many foods grown today. As a result, it can be quite difficult to find truly magnesium-rich foods. Cooking and processing further depletes magnesium.” (Mercola, 2015)
This is a good argument (among many) for avoiding GMO foods!

 

 

 

FOODS RICH IN MAGNESIUM

Source: Faloon, 2016
Some foods that are (or should be) high in magnesium:
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Cashews
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Okra
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dairy
  • Dried fruits
  • Dark chocolate
  • White beans
  • Baked potatoes (with the skin)
  • Baked acorn squash
  • Salmon
  • Mushrooms (white, portabella, brown, crimini , enoki, shiitake, maitake)
 – (Fassa, 2013) & (HealthAliciousNess, 2016)
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who’s sure the foods you consume are grown in magnesium rich soil or water, see the next section for a caveat about relying on food to get sufficient magnesium.

Source: eathealthylivefit.com

 

 

WHY SUPPLEMENT WITH MAGNESIUM

Unfortunately, even if we’re eating foods regarded as good sources of magnesium, most of us will still need to take magnesium supplements. The reason for this has to do with how depleted our food-growing soil has become:
“The challenge when assessing dietary magnesium intake is the inconsistency of the amount of magnesium contained in food.
“Magnesium is not manufactured inside plants like disease-fighting polyphenols. This means the quantity of dietary magnesium is largely dictated by the amount of magnesium in the soil the food is grown in, or the mineral content of the water one drinks, both of which are highly variable.” (Faloon, 2016)

 

Officially Recommended Daily Allowances for Magnesium

Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health
As you see in the chart above, the US government’s recommended daily amount of magnesium (as set by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements) is 310-320 mg for women and 410-420 mg for men. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean and many other nutritional experts, this amount is “just enough to ward off outright deficiency.” Research shows that only about 25% of Americans get even these meager RDAs. (Mercola, 2015)

 

 

 

IS THERE A BLOOD TEST FOR MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY?

 

Source: Nutrition by Angelique
The short answer is no. Here’s the reason:
“If you’ve recently had a blood test, you might assume it would show a magnesium deficiency. But only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a serum magnesium blood test not very useful.
“Most magnesium is stored in your bones and organs, where it is used for many biological functions. Yet, it’s quite possible to be deficient and not know it, which is why magnesium deficiency has been dubbed the “invisible deficiency.” (Mercola, 2015)
There are, however, other ways to attempt to measure magnesium in the body:
“Assessing magnesium status is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in bone. The most commonly used and readily available method for assessing magnesium status is measurement of serum magnesium concentration, even though serum levels have little correlation with total body magnesium levels or concentrations in specific tissues. Other methods for assessing magnesium status include measuring magnesium concentrations in erythrocytes, saliva, and urine; measuring ionized magnesium concentrations in blood, plasma, or serum; and conducting a magnesium-loading (or “tolerance”) test. No single method is considered satisfactory. Some experts but not others consider the tolerance test (in which urinary magnesium is measured after parenteral infusion of a dose of magnesium) to be the best method to assess magnesium status in adults. To comprehensively evaluate magnesium status, both laboratory tests and a clinical assessment might be required.” (National Institutes of Health, 2016)

 

TWO HIGH QUALITY MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS

There are many forms and brands of magnesium supplements. These are the ones I use.

intraNATURALS Magnesium Glycinate Chelate 150mg in Vegan Capsules, Better Absorbing than Tablets | 100% Pure & Non-Buffered

 

For my needs, I take two capsules after breakfast.

Designs for Health – NeuroMag Magnesium for Cognitive Abilities, 90 Vegetarian Capsules – contains magnesium which is chelated to threonic acid (magnesium L-threonate)

For my needs, I take one capsule after lunch and two capsules before bedtime.
The total dose of magnesium supplementation I take/day is 732 mg: 300 mg as magnesium glycinate chelate and 432 mg as magnesium threonate.
This works well for me. It may not be correct for you.

 

DOSAGE

 

Source: Alivebynature
There seems to be no firm agreement on how much magnesium we need for optimal health. The following is what I found on the topic. See also the section, FACTORS INFLUENCING MAGNESIUM LEVELS, below.
“The master mineral magnesium is missing from most of our topsoil, leaving the vast majority, perhaps 80%, with a failure to meet even the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 240 to 420 milligrams (based on age). It’s important to note that government RDAs are known to be well below optimum levels. Many experts think our magnesium levels should be twice the amount.” (Fassa, 2013)
This chart lists some of the types of magnesium and their uses:
Source: Humans Are Free
You can consult What’s The RIGHT Magnesium Dosage For Optimal Health? for information on the various forms of magnesium, their purposes, and how to figure dosage. (Knox, 2008-2016)
Dr Mercola’s article Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health is also worth consulting, especially his Tips for Increasing Your Magnesium Levels. (Mercola, 2015)
See also the next section, FACTORS INFLUENCING MAGNESIUM LEVELS, for the importance of maintaining a healthy ratio of calcium, vitamin K2, vitamin D, and magnesium levels in your body.

 

 

 

FACTORS INFLUENCING MAGNESIUM LEVELS

 

Source: Live A Little Longer

 

Getting adequate magnesium for your body isn’t just a matter of eating enough magnesium rich foods or taking supplements. Other factors affect your body’s magnesium absorption.
  • Drinking alcohol in excess can interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin D, which in turn aids with magnesium absorption.
  • High consumption of sugar causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys, resulting in a net loss.
Additional factors associated with lower magnesium levels:
  • Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
  • Menopause
  • Being elderly (older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption)
  • Diuretics
  • Some antibiotics – eg, gentamicin (sold under the trade names Cidomycin, Septopal, Genticyn, Garamycin, Gentak, Genoptic, Gentacidin, Garamycin Ophthalmic, and others) and tobramycin (sold under the trade names Tobrex, TobraDex, Tobi, Bethkis, and Nebcin)
  • Corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone)
  • Antacids
  • Insulin
  • An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs the body’s ability to absorb magnesium (eg, Crohn’s disease and leaky gut)
  • An imbalance in the ratio of calcium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D with magnesium
“It may seem like you could remedy the risks of low magnesium simply by taking a supplement, but it’s not quite that simple. When you’re taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1 to 1. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5 to 1.
“If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular. ‘What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,’ Dr. Dean explains.
‘When balancing calcium and magnesium, also keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D need to be considered. These four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance between these nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you’re K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places, like your soft tissue.
“Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification that may damage your heart.” (Mercola, 2015)
I didn’t have any success finding more exact information on the optimal ratio of magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, and calcium in the ‘intricate dance’ among the four – except for this supplement made by Swanson: Nature’s Plus Calcium-Magnesium with Vitamin D & K2. It also comes in vanilla and chocolate chewable forms.

From Swanson’s website:
  • Nature’s Plus Cal/Mag/Vit D with Vitamin K2 for optimum bone health
  • Utilizes the most effective and bioavailable bone nutrients available
  • Supercharged with 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 and 100 mcg of K2, the most effective form of Vitamin K

A potent combination of calcium and magnesium form the basis of skeletal structure. But only Nature’s Plus Cal/Mag/Vit D with K2 comes supercharged with 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 and 100 mcg of K2 (menatetrenone), the most effective form of Vitamin K, for superior absorption and deposition of essential bone minerals. Strong bones are the foundation of good health! High potency Nature’s Plus Cal/Mag/Vit D with Vitamin K2 is an advanced formulation, employing the most effective and bioavailable bone nutrients available. For complete skeletal support and an overall feeling of health, well-being and vitality, choose Nature’s Plus Cal/Mag/Vit D with K2!

 

Dr Mercola’s article What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium presents a great deal of useful information about calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2. You may find it helpful – even though you won’t discover the definitive optimal ratio among these four nutrients. (Mercola, 2012)
 

 

POSSIBLE HEALTH RISKS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH MAGNESIUM

 

Source: Easy Immune Health.com
Apparently taking too much magnesium isn’t an issue for most of us.
“Large doses of magnesium can cause a loss of central nervous system control. People with renal (kidney) insufficiency should not take magnesium supplements unless advised to do so by their physician.
‘No cases of magnesium toxicity from food intake have ever been reported, and such an occurrence seems highly unlikely to arise in any normal diet. However, if you are considering taking a supplement, there are certain drug interactions that people should be aware of.”
“… It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual nutrients as the key to good health.” (Ware, 2016)
See Ware’s article Magnesium: Health Benefits, Facts, Research for a list of medications that can interact poorly with magnesium supplements. She advises talking with your doctor if you take any of them.

 

 

Source: Healthy Food Resources
“The totality of evidence supporting magnesium’s systemic benefits may soon transform this mineral into the next vitamin D as far as widespread public use is concerned.” (Faloon, 2016)

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

Alliance Spine And Pain Centers. (2014). The Potential Link Between Fibromyalgia and Magnesium Deficiency. See:  http://www.atlantapainmanagementcenters.com/conditions/the-potential-link-between-fibromyalgia-and-magnesium-deficiency/

Axe, J. (2016). Should You Be Taking Magnesium Supplements?. See: https://draxe.com/magnesium-supplements/

Bartlik, B., Bijlani, V., & Music, D. (2014). Magnesium: An Essential Supplement for Psychiatric Patients. Psychiatry Advisor. See: http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/therapies/magnesium-an-essential-supplement-for-psychiatric-patients/article/362253/

Dibaba, D.  et al. (2015). Magnesium intake and incidence of pancreatic cancer: the VITamins and Lifestyle study. British Journal of Cancer, 113:11, 1615-21. See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26554653

Faloon, W. (2016). Will Magnesium Become the Next Vitamin D? Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2016/12/As-We-See-It/Page-01

Fassa, P. (2013). 16 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms – Signs Of Low Magnesium Levels. See: http://naturalsociety.com/16-magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-signs-low-levels/

HealthAliciousNess.com. (2016). Top 10 High Magnesium Foods You Can’t Miss. See:  https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-magnesium.php

Knox, K. (2008-2016). What’s The RIGHT Magnesium Dosage For Optimal Health? See: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/magnesium-dosage.html

Life Extension Update. (2008). Magnesium and calcium both needed for colorectal cancer protection. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/newsletter/2008/11/magnesium-calcium-needed-for-colorectal-cancer-protection/page-01

Mercola, R. (2012). What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium. See:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx

Mercola, R. (2015). Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx

National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. (2016). SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Pancreas Cancer. See: http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/pancreas.html

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2016). Magnesium. See: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

Pancreatic Cancer Action Netword. (2013). The Alarming Rise of Pancreatic Cancer Deaths in the United States: Why We Need to Stem the Tide Today. See: https://www.pancan.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/incidence_report_2012.pdf

Ware, M. (2016). Magnesium: Health Benefits, Facts, Research. Medical News Today. See: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839.php

Williams, D. (2016). The Migraine-Magnesium Connection. See: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/magnesium-prevent-migraines/

 

 

 

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

Psychobiotics for Anxiety and Depression

 

 

Source: Gut Health Project

 

It may strain the imagination to hear that several pounds of organisms live inside your gastrointestinal tract and that they are in constant communication with your brain, but it’s true. Actually, the communication is two way – gut to brain and brain to gut – and operates via biochemical signaling. This process is called the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiome is so so important to the body’s functioning it’s often now referred to as our second brain.
Recent research has also demonstrated that our mood is greatly affected by certain bacteria living in our gut microbiome. These bacteria profoundly influence how anxious or depressed we are. Having lots of friendly probiotic bacteria in there exerts anxiety-reducing and antidepressant effects on our emotions and physical bodies.
Fortunately for us, there is an emerging field of neuroscience called psychobiotics that is studying how changing the bacterial composition in the gut affects the brain. (Atlay, 2016)
Psychobiotics researchers are beginning to identify which probiotics have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects – boosting mood and cognitive function; decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan, along with numerous others, is convinced that mood disorders and many other psychiatric problems are the result of imbalances and chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome and that psychobiotics will become the treatment of choice for mood disorders and will also be used to prevent them. She wrote:
“For two decades now, pioneering researchers have been substantiating inflammatory models of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  Research has focused on markers that indicate immune distress in an important subset of patients, many of whom are labeled “treatment resistant.” Through this body of literature, we have identified that depression can be induced, in animals and in humans through inflammatory agents, that it is correlated with blood levels of inflammatory markers, in a linear way (more markers = worse depression), and that symptoms can be reversed through pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

 

Source: Mercola

 

The well respected scientists who authored an article called Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals published a few months ago in Trends in Neurosciences believe that prebiotics (nondigestible plant fibers that nourish our probiotics) should also be included as actors in the gut-brain communication process and propose the diagram below to show how it all works (Sarkar, 2016):

 

Systems-Level Overview of Psychobiotic Action

Trends in Neuroscience

 

If you’re interested in a deeper understanding of how the process works, take a look at this explanation of the diagram provided by the authors:

“Probiotics directly introduce beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria into the gut. Prebiotics (e.g., galacto-oligosaccharides) support the growth of such bacteria. SCFAs and gut hormones: Both probiotics and prebiotics increase production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which interact with gut mucosal enteroendocrine cells and catalyse the release of gut hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-1). Prebiotics may have stronger effects in this regard in comparison to probiotics. SCFAs and gut hormones enter circulation and can migrate into the central nervous system. Gut hormones are also secreted by tissues other than enteroendocrine cells. Neurotransmitters: psychobiotics enhance neurotransmitter production in the gut, including dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NA), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which likely modulate neurotransmission in the proximal synapses of the enteric nervous system. Vagal connections: the vagus nerve synapses on enteric neurons and enables gut–brain communication. Stress, barrier function, and cytokines: barrier dysfunction is exacerbated through stress-induced glucocorticoid exposure. This enables migration of bacteria with pro-inflammatory components, increasing inflammation directly and also triggering a rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines via the immunogenic response. These cytokines impair the integrity of the blood–brain barrier and permit access to potentially pathogenic or inflammatory elements. Pro-inflammatory cytokines (red circles) also reduce the integrity of the gut barrier. Psychobiotic action restores gut barrier function and decreases circulating concentrations of glucocorticoids and pro-inflammatory cytokines. They also increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines (blue circles), which enhance integrity of the blood–brain barrier, the gut barrier, and reduce overall inflammation. Cytokines clustering at the brain represent cytokine interaction with the blood–brain barrier. Central lymphatic vessels: cytokines may interact more directly with the brain than previously appreciated through the recently discovered central lymphatic vessels.” (Sarkar, 2016)

 

 

 

THE GUT-BRAIN AXIS AND MOOD

The gut microbiome and the brain, working together via the gut-brain axis, are jointly responsible for maintaining health in the body – including mental health. If a body has an unbalanced gut microbiome containing too few or unbalanced probiotics and prebiotics (dysbiosis) – because its owner consumes a nutritionally impoverished diet, has taken antibiotics that have killed off many probiotics in the gut, has been exposed to toxins, and/or isn’t doing a good job managing stress, the body’s intestinal lining may become too porous (a condition called leaky gut), creating chronic inflammation in the body and eventually a series of autoimmune diseases – and apparently mood disorders too.
In the diagram above from the Sarkar article, blue arrows indicate psychobiotic processes and effects, while red arrows indicate processes associated with leaky gut and chronic inflammation.

 

 

 

RESEARCH FINDINGS ON PSYCHOBIOTICS FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

 

Source: Organic Sunshine
Here are some intriguing results from research studies on probiotics’ and prebiotics’ effects on anxiety and depression:
A 30-day human study found these two probiotics helpful for reducing anxiety as compared to a placebo (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum
A mixture of these probiotics compared to a placebo, taken for four weeks, substantially reduced depression in human subjects (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum W23
  • Bifidobacterium lactis W52
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus W37
  • Lactobacillus brevis W63
  • Lactobacillus casei W56
  • Lactobacillus salivarius W24
  • Lactococcus lactis W19 and W58
In a study of academic stress, healthy medical students took either this probiotic or a placebo for eight weeks before an exam. The day before the exam, plasma cortisol was substantially lower in the probiotic group  compared to the placebo group. (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei Shirota
In another study, student athletes who were given this probiotic had elevated mood and reduced natural killer cell activity after strenuous exercise, relative to placebo:
  • Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2809 LG2809
When the probiotic was taken along with this protein in milk,
  • Alpha-lactalbumin
the students also experienced less fatigue. (Sarkar, 2016)
Irritable bowel syndrome is known to be associated with disturbances in the gut-brain axis and composition of the gut microbiome. IBS is a chronic inflammatory condition and is  often accompanied by anxiety and depression. After human study participants with IBS consumed this probiotic,  their level of inflammation was reduced (as measured by the ratio of interleukin-10 to interleukin-12), compared to those who took a placebo  (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
In a clinical trial of people with major depressive disorder, patients were given these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 billion CFUs)
  • Lactobacillus casei (2 billion CFUs)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 billion CFUs)
Compared with placebo, the people who took the probiotics were less depressed at the end of the eight week study  and also had significant decreases in systemic inflammation, reduced insulin resistance, and a significant rise in glutathione (the body’s master anti-oxidant). (University Health News, 2016)
A study looking at the effects of these probiotics (given as Probio’Stick®) on anxiety, depression, stress, and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers found a reduction of psychological distress (particularly depression, anger/hostility, and anxiety) and improved problem solving ability at the end of the 30 day study (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175
Harrington states, “For anyone experiencing anxiety and/or depression, regular supplementation with this probiotic combination seems a natural and worthwhile practice. It is conceivable that such supplementation could reduce reliance on prescription medications and deliver freedom from the burdens of these common mental illnesses.” (Harrington, 2016)
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were given either this probiotic or a placebo daily for two months. The people who took the probiotic experienced a significant decrease in anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (24 billion colony forming units)
Animal studies have shown that this probiotic reduces depression by increasing dopamine and serotonin. This same probiotic decreased cortisol and increased dopamine and serotonin, normalizing the stress response system in depressed mice subjected to early-life stress  (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus plantarum strain PS128
These two probiotics have been shown to reduce anxiety-like behavior and improve performance on cognitive tests in anxious mice (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium longum 1714
  • Bifidobacterium breve 1205
The same probiotic shown to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome has also been shown to help humans and lab animals undergoing other kinds of stress. This probiotic (consumed as kefir, a fermented milk drink that’s loaded with a variety of probiotics) prevented stress-related cortisol increases and raised serotonin levels in stressed medical students. The kefir also decreased stress-related physical symptoms such as abdominal pain and colds (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota
Animal studies have also identified other probiotics that reduce stress-related depression and anxiety by affecting serotonin, cortisol, and other neuroactive compounds. These two, in combination, normalized anxious behaviors along with learning and memory impairments in immune-deficient rats (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 combined with Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011
This probiotic was more effective than the SSRI citalopram (Celexa) in reducing stress-induced anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction in rats. It lowered their cortisol and restored their serotonin and other brain neurochemical levels back to normal (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus NS8
Prebiotics, like probiotics, have also been identified as regulators of mood and brain function. A recent study found that this prebiotic decreased the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol and improved emotional processing and lowered anxiety in healthy human volunteers (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bimuno-galactooligosaccharides, B-GOS
A study of people with IBS, who typically have decreased microbial diversity in their gut microbiomes and often suffer from anxiety, found that daily consumption of this prebiotic mixture for four weeks reduced their anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • a galactooligosaccharide-containing prebiotic mixture in powder form
An informative article called 10 Best Probiotics For Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification names the following as the most helpful probiotics for mood regulation, describes their functions in the body, presents relevant research results from studies in which they were used as psychobiotics, and recommends some specific probiotic products. The first nine in the list are probiotics; the 10th is a prebiotic:
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Transgalactooligosaccharides
The article also discusses pathogenic bacteria that may CAUSE anxiety and depression:
  • Citrobacter rodentium
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Clostridium
  • Enterococcus faecalis
Interestingly, these pathogenic bacteria have also been found to be associated with other serious physical problems, including GI disease, stress-induced memory dysfunction, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heart valve damage.

 

 

COMMERCIAL PSYCHOBIOTIC  SUPPLEMENTS

If your interest in the relationship between the probiotics in your gut microbiome and your mood has been piqued, perhaps you want to pick out one or more of the probiotics mentioned above to experiment with. Start with the one that interests you most and take it for a month so it has a chance to  colonize in your gut.
If deliberately encouraging a strain of bacteria to colonize your gut sounds too much like a scary science fiction movie, please remember that we’re talking about GOOD (probiotic) bacteria, ones that create health in the body, not HARMFUL (pathologic)  bacteria that create illness.

 

Source: Happy Oligo
Here are a few commercially available probiotic supplements that provide  psychobiotic and other benefits:

 

Life Extension Florassist Mood Capsules

This supplement contains 3 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of a blend of two probiotic strains demonstrated to improve mood, reduce perceived stress, and promote relaxation in humans.
  • Lactobacillus Helveticas strain R0052
  • Bifid bacterium longum strain R0175
“Research suggests specific probiotics positively influence biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system- resulting in positive effects on mood.” (Amazon.com, 2017)

Contains milk and soybeans. The ingredients may be from GMO sources.
Life Extension  says this about the GMO issue:
“Q. Should I be concerned with the usage of genetically modified plants (GMOs)?
“A. Soybeans are an example of a crop that has used extensive genetic engineering to increase crop yield. The reality is that soybean oil and soy lecithin are highly processed derivatives of soy … far removed from their soy origin. Genetic modification doesn’t alter the entire plant… only a specific gene. Thus, specific molecules like soy lecithin are the same whether they come from a GMO or non-GMO soy source. However, due to our sensitivity to customer concerns, products with corn and soy-based active ingredients are in process of having the labels updated to list when soy and corn-derived active ingredients have been certified to be from non-GM food crops. As the labels are updated the information will be transferred to the product descriptions on our website and directory. Currently Life Extension already offers several premium quality non-GMO soy isoflavone extract products.” (Life Extension, 2017)

 

 

Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics Time-Release Micro-Pearls

 

At time of manufacture, contains 5 billion Colony Forming Units per BIO-tract pearl,  equivalent to 75 billion CFU. Contains a minimum of 1.5 CFU at time of expiration date.
The 15 Group, B. (2015). biotic strains in this  supplement are:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – Secretes the oxidant hydrogen peroxide which acts as a weapon to protect your body and must be present for your immune system to function correctly. Creates a healthy barrier in your colon and helps lower luminal pH, creating an unfavorable environment for the growth of pathogens including molds, yeasts and bacteria.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum –  highly antimicrobial and antioxidative. Helps inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast and other pathogens and has demonstrated clinical efficacy within immune health.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Creates a fortress of good colonies that helps keep unwanted organisms out of your gut. Studies show that L. acidophilus helps to reduce occasional diarrhea and enhances your immune system and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that those taking L. acidophilus experienced significantly more relief from their gastrointestinal discomfort than did those taking a placebo.
  • Bifidobacterium Infantis – Has been shown to reduce the major symptoms of GI disorders, including diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, cramping and constipation. It is particularly popular as a means of combating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and has been shown to improve digestion and the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
  • Lactobacillus casei – Along with L. Acidolphilus, converts lactose into lactic acid, helping those who are lactose intolerant. Helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.
  • Bifidobacterium longum – Assists in breaking down carbohydrates and fighting free radicals. Provides potent antioxidant support and helps reduce the effects of seasonal allergens.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – Helps reduce occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning.
  • Bifidobacterium lactis – Helps decrease H. pylori (a bacterium associated with the majority of stomach ulcers) and helps the production of the front line cells in your immune system.
  • Lactobacillus reuteri – Improves cholesterol levels, reduces H. plyori, protects female urinary tract and vaginal health and aids infants’ GI health.
  • Lactobacillus salivarius – Helps with GI problems (especially diarrhea caused by antibiotics), helps lactose-intolerant people digest dairy. It may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, maintain dental health, help with IBS, and boost the immune system.
  • Lactobacillus paracasei – Is key for digestive function, boosts the immune system, and energy levels, resolves infant diarrhea. It may help fight infections and relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri – May speed up metabolism and encourage weight loss, protect against harmful organisms, lower cholesterol, reduce allergic response, ease symptoms of asthma in children, and lessen menstrual pain in women with endometriosis.
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – Protects the intestinal lining from damage from toxins and pathological germs. Produces important vitamins like B12, biotin, and K2. Helps digest sugar and reduces incidence of colds and flu.
  • Bifidobacterium breve – Protects colon function, alleviates constipation, reduces gas and diarrhea. Stimulates the immune system, inhibits E. coli and suppresses the fungus Candida. Ferments sugars and produces acetic and lactic acids. Helps digest plant  fibers typically thought of as undigestible. May reduce intestinal irritation and allergic responses.
  • Streptococcus thermopholus – Breaks down lactose into lactic acid and helps boost the immune system. May lower the risk of colon cancer. May protect intestinal tissues from irritation during chemotherapy . Correlates with better growth in children.
plus 25 mg of prebiotic:
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
This supplement is vegetarian; non-GMO; and free of yeast, lactose, soy, iron, gluten, wheat, nuts, preservatives, sugar, and artificial colors or flavors.
 – Information provided by Hyperbiotics on Amazon.com (2017), Dr Edward Group at Global Healing Center (2015A-F), and Examine.com (2011-2017).

 

 

Jarrow Formulas Ideal Bowel Support 299v Capsules

 

This supplement contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum 299v
Each veggie cap contains 10 billion viable cells of L. plantarum 299v, a clinically-documented, human-origin probiotic strain that resists stomach acid and bile salts and has been found to successfully colonize the human intestinal mucosa.
This strain reduces bloating, gas and Intestinal discomfort, and supports regularity.  The product is vegetarian/vegan and gluten free but contains trace amounts of soy.
– Amazon.com (2017)

 

 

align Probiotic Supplement Capsules

 

This supplement also contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
align was developed by gastroenterologists to promote and support a healthy digestive system. It’s especially useful for people with irritable bowel  syndrome (IBS) – sometimes called spastic colon. IBS is characterized by abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. (Amazon.com, 2017)
In the intestines of infants, B. infantis helps break down lactic acid in human breast milk.

“Adults who keep their B. infantis levels in balance enjoy better overall health, an active metabolism, and less discomfort after eating. British researchers reported it only took four weeks for women who took B. infantis to enjoy a significant improvement in their IBS symptoms. Another study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found B. infantis supports stomach health and digestion. But it does more than aid digestion. It also supports your immune system against unwanted bacterial growth in the intestines. And some strains even produce B vitamins.” (Group, 2015B)

 

 

Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula Capsules

The beneficial bacteria in BioKult are freeze dried, a process which protects them from the harsh acidic environment of the stomach so they survive to colonize the intestinal tract. Each capsule contains a minimum of 2 billion probiotic microorganisms. BioKult is gluten free, uses no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  It may contain traces of soy and milk from the growth medium of the strains. Lactose intolerant people shouldn’t have a problem with these traces of milk. BioKult is non-GMO. (Amazon.com, 2017)
Bio-Kult contains 14 probiotic strains:
  • Bacillus subtilis PXN 21
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum PXN 23
  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Bifidobacterium longum PXN 30
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus plantarum PXN 47
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Lactobacillus helveticus PXN 45
  • Lactobacillus salivarius PXN 57
  • Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis PXN 63
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Here’s information on the probiotic strains in Bio-Kult that haven’t already been discussed:
* Bacillus subtilis is ubiquitous in soil, produces an endospore that allows it to survive the stomach’s acidity. It is beneficial to the digestive system in general and is known to improve symptoms of IBS. It suppresses the growth of harmful pathogens, strengthens the gut’s mucosal lining, and enhances the growth of other good probiotic strains. (Jockers, 2014)
B. subtilis‘s other benefits include decreasing triglycerides, LDL levels and total cholesterol; increasing immunity; fighting viruses; improving leaky gut; decreasing inflammation;  decreasing diarrhea and nausea; improving dairy digestion; decreasing tooth decay; managing HIV symptoms; and fighting dyspepsia. (Jerkunica, 2009-2015)
* Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus is one of the bacterial strains used to turn milk into yogurt  and is also found in other naturally fermented foods.
* Lactobacillus helveticus provides many health benefits – including inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumorigenic activity, anti-hypertensive activity, immunomodulatory activity, control of diarrhea, reduction of lactose intolerance, and enhancing recovery from gut atrophy induced by malnutrition. It has also been found to improve bone mineral density and bone mineral content, calcium and bone metabolism, arterial stiffness, and blood pressure. (Swartzburg, 2009)

 

* Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, a strain of L. lactis,  is used widely in cheese making as a starter culture. It’s added to milk to make a variety of cultured dairy products: sour cream, buttermilk, blue cheese, Colby, Cheddar, and cottage cheese.
L. lactic ssp. lactis protects against strep throat, respiratory and non-respiratory diseases, L. lactis also delivers antigens that stimulate mucosal immunity to non-respiratory pathogens, including HIV, HPV, and the malarial parasite. It’s related to other lactic acid bacteria, such as L. acidophilus in the intestines and S. salivarius in the mouth. (Todar, 2008-2011)
I love this: In 2010, L. lactis was named Wisconsin’s Official State Microbe!
Source: Slideplayer

 

 

Earth’s Pearl Probiotic & Prebiotic

This is another probiotic supplement in pearl form, containing 4 billion cultures. The pearls contain no gluten, lactose, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, chemicals, or artificial ingredients.

About the Product
  • Increases the probiotic bacterial profile in the gut microbiome.
  • Pearls versus capsules: The Time Release Patented Technology, BioTract, allows pearls to be smaller than capsules and easier to swallow. The manufacturer says this product is 15X more effective than capsules and delivers 15X more live bacteria into the intestinal tract.
  • Provides relief from gas, bloating, IBS, diarrhea, constipation and other bowel discomforts.
  • Boosts immunity, energy and mood.
  • Improves vitamin absorption, which gives a big boost to your immune system.
  • Protects the body from yeast overgrowth and improves digestion,  contributing to overall well-being and more energy.
  • Earth’s Pearl Probiotics support and improve healthy digestion, improving the bio-availability of nutrients from the healthy foods and supplements you are taking.
This supplement is good for yeast infections, diarrhea, gas, bloating, diverticulitis, colon issues, leaky gut, digestion issues, poor immune system, constipation, IBS, lactose intolerance, allergies, antibiotics.
Probiotic ingredients:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
Prebiotic ingredient:
  • Fructooligosaccharides
 (Amazon, 2017)

 

 

Probiotic Sticks

This probiotic supplement is for those who can’t or don’t like swallowing capsules. Each stick contains 3 billion active cells (guaranteed to expiration date). You tear the stick open and pour its contents onto your tongue, allow the powder to dissolve, and swallow. You could also mix the powder into water or juice, even stir it into a smoothie.
Each stick contains:
  • Bifidobacterium longum (R0175) 3.18 x 108 CFU
  • Lactobacillus helveticus (R0052) 2.682 x 109 CFU
Probiotic Sticks balance the intestinal microflora and help decrease stress-related GI symptoms – such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They are micro-encapsulated and gastro-protected. The powder is a red plum flavor. (Amazon.com, 2017)
An Amazon customer reported, “It is the best probiotic I have ever used. It really helps with anxiety.”

 

These are only a few of the probiotic supplements on the market. Some research should help you find one that’s high quality and addresses your health issues.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to get the highest quality supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

KEFIR

Kefir is a fermented drink that’s loaded with probiotic bacteria, including many of the ones discussed above that have been found effective for anxiety and depression. It can be made from any type of milk – usually cow, goat or sheep, and also from coconut water, juices, rice, soy – even plain water. It has impressive medicinal benefits for healing leaky gut and can be given to newborns to improve their gut microbiomes. It also contains high levels of Vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals, Vitamin K2, biotin, folate, and digestive enzymes. The fermentation process breaks down the lactose in milk, rendering kefirs 99% lactose-free, so they’re tolerated well even by those who are lactose intolerant.
Kefir has been consumed for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits.

Lifeway organic plain kefir is an example of a tasty commercial kefir that’s widely available. Its culture contains 15-20 billion Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of live and active kefir cultures per cup. Kefir cultures include these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus Lactis
  • Lactobacillus  Rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus Diacetylactis
  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Lactobacillus Casei
  • Saccharomyces Florentinus
  • Leuconostoc Cremoris
  • Bifidobacterium Longum
  • Bifidobacterium Breve
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium Lactis
  • Lactobacillus Reuteri
See these resources for more information on the probiotic superfood kefir:

 

 

 

OTHER FERMENTED FOODS

Adding lacto-fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles  to your daily diet will provide a good dose of probiotics. If you’re buying commercial versions of these foods, be aware that ‘pickled’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘fermented. Most pickles and pickled foods are made with vinegar and provide NO probiotic benefits. They’re also usually made with lots of processed salt, which isn’t good for us. Real, lacto-fermented pickles, sauerkraut, etc contain no vinegar. Instead, they are brined with water and salt, and are sold refrigerated because the culture in the jar is alive with probiotics that would be killed if exposed to heat .

 

EXAMPLE OF PICKLES MADE WITH VINEGAR

Ingredients: Pickles (Cucumbers, Salt, Calcium Chloride), Original Curing Brine, Water, Salt, Distilled White Vinegar, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate as a Preservative, Natural Flavoring, Polysorbate 80

 

EXAMPLES OF LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLES AND SAUERKRAUT

Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers. Artesian Well Water, Garlic, Salt, Dill, Spices

Sauerkraut Ingredients: Cabbage, Artesian Well Water, Salt

You’ll notice that the Heinz Premium Genuine Dills are made with vinegar and require a preservative. They don’t contain probiotics and are sold at room temperature.
Bubbies’ Pure Kosher Dills and Sauerkraut are full of healthy probiotics created by lacto-fermentation, contain no vinegar or chemical preservatives and are sold refrigerated. My only objections to them are that the company apparently uses processed salt in its culture and the ingredients are probably genetically modified.
Source: Pinterest

 

A note on yogurt: The probiotics in most commercial yogurts get killed off by heat during processing. Look for yogurts that are still tangy tasting. You can also make your own.

 

 

Source: preventdisease.com
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan says in “Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?” regarding getting your probiotics from food:
“Given how little is known about therapeutic applications of different strains, it may make sense to defer to ancestral practices that confirm the importance of probiotic exposures. In these foods such as lactofermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables, microbes are acting on the food, and the food is then acting on our microbes.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

Source: Collective Evolution

 

“In the centuries before we had refrigeration or freezing, foods were often preserved by fermentation.  In eating and drinking those fermented foods, we regularly ingested prebiotics and probiotics that kept our gut flora balanced and happy.
“Live, lactic acid fermentation is the simplest and usually the safest way of preserving food. Before we had refrigeration, canning and chemical preservatives, humans in every culture preserved foods by fermenting them – sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented soybean paste), kimchi, dry sausages, pickles, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread starters, beers and wines, among others.
“We pretty much stopped eating those digestion-enhancing foods when we started relying on foods kept ”fresh” by refrigeration and other artificial means – and even worse, started eating heavily processed, essentially fake and genetically altered foods. What we gave up in turning away from fermented foods was ingesting enough of the friendly bacteria our bodies need to maintain good health, the prebiotics and probiotics created by natural fermentation. (Hardin, 2011)
“Natural fermentation develops vast amounts of lactic acid bacteria, friendly bacteria our guts need to maintain good health. Take sauerkraut for example: The numbers of different lactic acid bacteria in live sauerkraut can reach concentrations of 10 (to the 8th) to 10 (to the 9th) per gram. ( Zdenka Samish,  1963)”
 – From my 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics

 

 

 

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to find the best supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PSYCHOBIOTICS

The 2016 University Health News article, The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics: What are pychobiotics? They’re mind-altering probiotics that researchers say can boost mood, decrease anxiety, and ease depression, among other benefits, in case you want to track back to any of the human or animal studies described above.
10 Best Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification is chock full of helpful, detailed information.
Safely Reduce Anxiety and Mood Disorders is an informative article by Stephen Harrington published by  Life Extension Magazine.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Dr Kelly Brogan and Kristin Loberg’s best selling book A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives makes the case that depression is not a genetic disease caused by chemical imbalances but rather a result of chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome.  Dr Brogan has a website called Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. 
My 2015 post Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood

 

 

DOSAGES

The field of psychopbiotics is fairly new so dosages aren’t entirely clear yet. As the authors of The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics put it:
“The best psychobiotics and the best dosages for those psychobiotics have yet to be determined, but a number of them used in the studies described above are commercially available in probiotic supplements. Generally, at least 10 billion CFU’s per day are recommended for most probiotics, including psychobiotics, but higher or lower amounts may also be beneficial. Just make sure to give your psychobiotic a try for at least a month before deciding whether it’s working or not.” (University Health News, 2016)
A tip from my own experience: If the dosage instructions on your new probiotic supplement recommend taking more than one/day, it would probably be wise to start with one to see how your body reacts to it, stay on that dose for a while (at least a few days, maybe even a week), then work up to the recommended dose slowly.

 

Souce: Pinterest

 

 

PSYCHOBIOTICS VS PHARMACEUTICALS

While researchers currently can’t recommend doses for these probiotics and haven’t yet tested their long-term effects,  if you’re suffering from chronic anxiety and/or depression and are the sort of person who’s willing to be a pioneer, you might want to try adding them to your daily diet as an experiment and see if they help you.
I’ll point out here that the taking of prescription pharmaceuticals isn’t as scientific and safe as we’ve been led to believe.

 

Source: Quotes

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROBIOTICS IN GENERAL

Michelle Schoffro Cook’s book The Probiotic Promise: Simple steps to heal your body from the inside out is a bible of information on how probiotics influence our health. She also has a blog, drmichellecook.com.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Ed Yong’s 2016 book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. It’s a #1 Amazon Best Seller in Microbiology – but don’t let that put you off. It’s a primer for anyone interested in learning more about how we interact with the huge variety of probiotic bacteria and other microbes living in and on us.
My 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics.

 

 

A REQUEST

If you’re willing, it would be helpful if you’d share information about your experiences with any of these or other psychobiotic supplements or foods. The field is still in its infancy and we can learn from each other’s experiences – what worked for you and what didn’t.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Amazon.com. (2017). Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics.  See: https://www.amazon.com/Hyperbiotics-PRO-15-Probiotics-Technology-Supplement/dp/B00JEKYNZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483825983&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=hyperbiotics+pro-15&psc=1 and  https://www.amazon.com/forum/-/Tx1GH3C15RF68NV/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza?asin=B00JEKYNZA

Atlay, K. (2016). Psychobiotics: Harnessing gut bacteria to improve your brain. See: http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/health/article/2016/10/26/psychobiotics-harnessing-gut-bacteria-improve-your-brain

Axe, J. (2015).  7 Kefir Benefits and Nutrition Facts. See:  https://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/

Brogan, K. (2014). Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?. GreenMed Info. See: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/psychobiotics-bacteria-your-brain

Brogan, K. & Loberg, K. (2016). A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. See: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Your-Own-Depression-Reclaim/dp/0062405578

Brogan, K. (2017). Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. See: http://kellybroganmd.com

Examine.com. (2011-2017). Lactobacillus reuteri. See: https://examine.com/supplements/lactobacillus-reuteri/

Group, E. (2015A). Bifidobacterium bifidum: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-bifidum-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015B). Bifidobacterium infantis: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-infantis-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015C). Bifidobacterium breve: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-breve-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015D). Lactobacillus gasseri: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-gasseri-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015E). Lactobacillus paracasei: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-paracasei-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015F). Lactobacillus salivarius: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-salivarius-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

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Hardin, J.R. (2015). Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/07/04/psychobiotics-your-gut-bacteria-your-mood/

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