Research has proven that Probiotics+Prebiotics help in creating a healthy gut, which in turn helps in making us stronger, healthier, and happier. But how exactly does good bacteria way down in the gut make systems all over the body better? How does it help in preventing or controlling diseases in other parts of the body? This series of articles aims to shed light on these questions and more, and we kick off the series with the first topic: mental health.
Neuro-gastroenterology research in the past decade has revealed that there is a strong two-way communication network between the GI tract and the central nervous system, which is commonly referred to as the ‘gut-brain axis’. The emerging field of nutritional psychiatry has gained support in its exploration of the link between diet and risk of mental health disorders. There are many ongoing scientific studies aiming to isolate the exact nutrients that impact mental health.
- The nutrients we intake, including amino acids, fats, vitamins, minerals, affect the brain’s structure and function and the maintenance of the balance in the communication between brain and gut-microbiota.
- The gut-brain axis includes the central nervous system (CNS), the neuro-endocrine and neuro-immune systems, autonomic nervous system, enteric nervous system, and intestinal microbiota. It is involved in many bodily processes, including satiety, food intake, regulation of glucose and fat metabolism, insulin secretion and sensitivity, bone metabolism, and lifespan.
- Emotional or physical stress and the release of stress hormones causes disturbances in the gut, like exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Stress also affects the immune system and the gut physiology.
Our gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem of over 1,000 species, 7,000 strains of bacteria, archaea, yeasts, planctomycetes and filamentous fungi and viruses, such as Senegal virus. It is often referred to as the forgotten organ. The microbiota and the body live in a balanced, mutually-beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The importance of this relationship is undeniable, so, what steps can we take to strengthen this balance?
Probiotics and the Gut-Brain Axis
Psychobiotics are the beneficial probiotics and supporting prebiotics that influence bacteria–brain relationships. They have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects indicated by changes in emotional, cognitive, systemic, and neural conditions.
- Prebiotics (non-digestible food component that feed the gut bacteria) and Probiotics (live cultures living inside human gut) help regulate the gut bacteria composition and modulate several metabolic disorders, behavioral conditions, and cognitive functions. They increase the availability of tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and synthesis of serotonin - a mood-stabilizing hormone.
- Kombucha, made from fermented tea, is an adaptogen that normalizes and balances the body.
- Kombucha contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6, and B12, which help the body fight depression, stabilize mood, and improve concentration. It also contains vitamin C, which suppresses the release of cortisol – a stress hormone. L-theanine in tea counteracts the harmful effects of caffeine, providing focused, calm energy.
- Animal studies have indicated that some herbs alter the normal gut flora and have prominent effect on behavioral condition such as anxiety depression and cognition.
- Several nutrients, including L-glutamine, L-glutamate, glucose, and sucrose protect the gastric mucosa, improve emotional state, and supply energy in the subconscious state.
- Probiotics possess antioxidants, increase production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and improve absorption of other nutrients like calcium and phosphorus.
So there you have it! Scientific studies have shown the strong link between the gut and the brain, and the effect of this gut-brain axis on the mental health and well-being. A healthy and diverse gut microbiota has a positive impact on this axis, which improves mood, anxiety, and cognition. The easiest way to improve our gut biome is through a balanced diet rich in fiber and fermented foods/drinks (such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yogurt, kefir, and kombucha). Get in touch with your gut bacteria today, feed it some tasty kombucha and ferments, and feel the best you can feel!
Booch offers several fermented products in addition to our signature kombucha and jun drinks to help you strengthen your gut biome, and they are all made with fresh, organic ingredients sourced from local farmers.