Mental Health and Probiotics
Mental health issues are common among the UK’s population. Latest data published by the NHS, estimates that one in every six UK adults have at least one type of mental disorder like anxiety and depression. Interestingly enough, mixed anxiety and depression which are the most common mental health issues, have a detrimental impact on the nation’s economy contributing to one-fifth of the work days lost in Britain every single year.
Running a quick internet query on mental health will introduce one to multiple articles around the topic and a host of tips on improving the state of the mind. Across most of these discussions, an often-overlooked aspect is the profound influence of the gut. And the way in which probiotics consumption can play a major role in improving a person’s mental wellbeing, including anxiety and depression.
Mental health and probiotics go hand in hand. Recent research – undertaken by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) – published in the BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health suggests the health benefits of probiotics may extend well beyond their widely established influence in treating intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and traveler’s diarrhea. More specifically, the systematic review established that probiotics consumed in isolation or in combination with prebiotic could help in alleviating depression. This review has only added to the growing body of evidence which suggests a strong association between gut functioning and hence probiotics and mental health.
This linkage can be traced to what is commonly known within scientific circles as the gut-brain axis (GBA). GBA is the bidirectional communication system that exists between a person’s central nervous system and the gut microbiome (or the GI tract). The health of the gut microbiome becomes critical as it has been found to have a measurable impact on the brain, influencing stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and social behaviour.
This is where probiotics, often termed as good bacteria, come in to an extent they are also being touted as psycho probiotics. Broadly, their main function is to keep the gut microbiome rightly balanced, in turn preventing dysbiosis, a state where the unfavourable bacteria within the gut ecosystem becomes higher than desirable.
As such, it becomes imperative to include probiotic foods within one’s diet. Natural probiotic sources include foods fermented with bacteria such as yogurt or pickles. Probiotic-laced beverages or drinks such as kombucha or kefir are also viewed as good sources. Further, in consultation with a healthcare provider and understanding the health benefits thereof, it might very well be a worthy to consider adding probiotic supplementation into the diet plan.
Moreover, while mulling over inclusion of supplements, it is important to be mindful of their effectiveness. Two key factors are usually considered while choosing a probiotic product: Colony forming units (CFUs) and strains. CFU is an indicator of the number of viable cells within a sample. For an average individual, the recommended dosage is 10-15 billion CFU per day.
Our Probiotic Lattes contain 1 billion CFU per cup. The total of CFU per pouch in is 50 billion. With respect to strains, there is no ideal number. Hence it's advised to seek products that offer evidence-based strains and strain combinations. Our probiotic strain has been tested in the US before and AFTER brewing in hot water as the final product and shows an average of 1 billion CFU per 4g. We recommend only half a teaspoon per cup (5g) and so we can safely assume that the 1 billion CFU gets delivered to your gut without dying in your cup when brewing. Again, it is worth consulting a healthcare provider who’d be the best positioned and qualified to advise on the probiotic supplementation and dosage best suited based on an individual’s needs.