Can probiotics help treat depression and anxiety?

There is a lot of interest right now in the human microbiome (the populations of bacteria that live in various parts of the body, including the intestine, skin, and lungs). We now know that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. The vast majority of these bacterial cells are in the intestinal tract, and they serve many purposes, including digesting foods, manufacturing certain vitamins (for example, vitamin K), and regulating our immune system. Researchers are actively studying whether changes in intestinal bacteria can increase the risk of chronic illnesses, such as obesity or inflammatory bowel disease.

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How taking care of your gut bacteria could improve your anxiety

The psychobiotic revolution is just beginning and it could change the way we treat mental health problems. Tailoring the diet to promote gut bacterial health could have knock-on benefits for mental health, such as reducing anxiety and depression.

Focusing on the microbiome could revolutionise treatments for mental health problems. Supplements could help boost the health of your microbiome, but many products marketed as probiotics or prebiotics have no evidence to back up their marketing claims.

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Study Suggests Link Between Imbalanced Gut Microbiome and Systemic Sclerosis

Findings

Americans and Norwegians with systemic sclerosis had higher levels of bacteria that can cause inflammation and lower levels of bacteria that are believed to protect against inflammation compared with healthy people, according to a new study by researchers from UCLA and Oslo University.

Study participants from United States, however, had a greater imbalance between the “good” and “bad” gut bacteria compared with the participants from Norway. The researchers suspect that the difference is because of a combination of genetics and diet.

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