A long-time fanatic of natural supplements, I am so excited that our field is recognizing the effects of a healthy gut-brain connection. The significant finding of 2013 that probiotic therapy was found to alleviate autism-like symptoms in mice has stimulated more discussion on how the helpful bacteria in your gut works in symphony with your brain chemicals.
Reading labels of probiotic supplements can be daunting, so I’ve compiled a short list of what I look for with regard to helping neurotransmitter functioning:
Lactobacillus helveticus & Bifidobacterium longum: found to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that is frequently elevated in those who suffer from depression
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: increase the production of GABA, the neurotransmitter responsible for calming our nervous system and reducing anxiety and mental ruminations often seen with depression and OCD
Bifidobacterium infantis: a microbe capable of producing serotonin, much like Prozac
Lactobacillus acidophilus: improves functioning of cannabinoid receptors in the spinal cord, the receptors critical to regulating pain
Bacteriodes fragilis: Known to bolster the immune system, this was the microbe used in the study mentioned above that reduced the neurological patterns of autism-like behavior (California Institute of Technology)
Bifidobacterium infantis & Lactobacillus reuteri: these guys attack inflammation, a hallmark of depression and autoimmune responses, and also influence the appetite by sending “I’m full” signals to the brain. L. reuteri also stimulates oxytocin, the hormone responsible for our safe and social feelings when we are with loved ones.
Finding a quality probiotic is essential to achieving the full benefit of the supplementation. Many are physician prescribed-only, as are those we use in our Saturday Clean group therapy program (see Group Therapy: Weight Loss & Detoxification). For more information on how you can improve your neurotransmitter functioning and/or inquiries about the group program, contact Dr. Duke at 847-728-0705.
*Disclaimer: The medical information provided on this site is of a general nature and should not substitute for the advice of a qualified medical professional