The Connection Between Gut and Brain: Role of Probiotics
That gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach is all too real – your gut is sensitive to emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy – and your brain can react to signals from your stomach.
According to the American Psychology Association, our Human gut is actually considered to be a “Second Brain” and it is the only system in your body to have its own independent nervous system.
Researchers have now concluded that good gut health may extend to improve the health of your brain and digestion.
First things first, what do you mean by “Gut”?
The gut includes organs that are involved in the process of digestion, including the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. The lining of your gut is known as the ‘second brain.’
The gut and brain are connected in two ways: physically and mentally.
Physically, the vague nerves which control messages to the gut as well as the heart, lungs, and other vital organs, have a direct connection to the brain.
Chemically, messengers like neurotransmitters and hormones connect the gut and the brain.
How is Gut Health connected with Mental Health?
When you are stressed, you might experience uneasiness in your tummy too. Well, that is how they are connected! Having anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome because of the body’s response to stress.
Researchers have shown that any change or disruption in the immune system can lead to increased inflammation of the GI tract, in turn, leading to the development of diseases that can affect your brain and body.
This needs to be taken care of right from the first day of your life; in your mothers’ womb. Severe infections can negatively affect the GI tract, disrupting the gut-brain axis, thus, interfering with normal brain development.
Role of Probiotics in Gut and Mental Health
It is a scientifically proven fact that 95% of the serotonin in our body is found in the GI tract. Research has shown that our digestive health can have a significant impact on the functioning of our brain, and even affect our mood.
Consumption of probiotics has proven useful in alleviating mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and loss of memory. People with mood disorders have also been found to be happier when consuming probiotic supplements.
Hence, it is important to include probiotics in your normal diet.
What Are The Food Sources Of Probiotics?
Live Microorganisms, including probiotics, are mainly found in fermented products such as:
Why Supplement With Probiotics?
While consuming fermented foods is a healthy option, there are also some disadvantages.
- Fermented foods contain lactose too which can cause digestive comfort in certain individuals.
- Fermented foods also tend to have a lower shelf life and need to be refrigerated.
- It can also be difficult to ensure the potency or amount of live & active probiotics that are present in the fermented foods.
For these reasons, probiotics supplements may be a good alternative.
What To Look For In A Probiotic Supplement?
- The dosage, listed in Colony Forming Units (CFUs).
- The number of strains, there are dozens of unique probiotic strains. Look for a source that provides multiple strains.
- Prebiotics, fructooligosaccharides, or FOS for short, are prebiotic. FOS helps acidophilus, a probiotic, to flourish in the intestines and may help maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Galactic-oligosaccharides, or GOS for short, is another common prebiotics.
- Expiration Date, avoid products if potency is based upon time of manufacturing and not guaranteed through the expiration date.
Why should you buy GNC Probiotics?
- Quality: GNC Probiotics products are also formulated by nutrition experts. The manufacturing process used is a freeze-drying process which ensures the freshness of the product.
- Guaranteed Potency: GNC guarantees that all GNC Probiotics products are at full potency throughout the entire shelf life without the need for refrigeration.
- Innovation: GNC Probiotics products are made using a variety of potency, unique delivery & targeted health options featuring strains that have been clinically-studied for specific benefits.
- Scientifically Formulated: GNC Probiotics are manufactured using a specialized freeze-dry process to ensure that the healthy bacteria found in your probiotic bottle survive the acidic environment of your stomach and reach safely the digestive tract. It also contains prebiotics to ensure a healthy balance of intestinal flora.
- Convenient: GNC’s Probiotics does not require refrigeration, and thus are convenient to carry while traveling.
Carabotti, M., Scirocco, A., Maselli, M. A., & Severi, C. (2015). The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Annals of gastroenterology, 28(2), 203–209.
Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017). Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and practice, 7(4), 987. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2017.987