Are you tired of trying to navigate the vast and vague world of choosing a probiotic to boost your mood? Reading label after label, with all sorts of latin binomial species names (say latin word awkwardly), weird units of measurements (CFU, is that a curse word?) and a plethora of empty promises from brands (Will solve all of the worlds problems).
Well lucky you, I’m about to break it all down for you so that you finally understand probiotics and can choose the best probiotics strains for your mental health. For for you lazy folks who still don’t have the motivation to make your own decisions, stick around til the end as I’ll be letting you guys know which ready-to-go mood probiotic product I recommend as the best probiotics for brain and mental health.
Now if you don’t know already, probiotics in science and medicine is blowing up! By this point, you’re probably aware of the importance of probiotics in immune and digestive health. But did you know that the microorganisms in our gut can actually influence our brain?
That’s right, trillions of little bacteria in your intestines can actually have profound influence on your mood, behavior and even personality. The intimate link between our brain and our guts goes deep and gets weirder and weirder the more we look at it.
You might wonder, how on earth is this possible? The intestines and the brain are completely different organs and are not even near each other! Well, there’s this important nerve called the vagus nerve. It’s essentially a thick chord of nervous system tissue that extends all the way from the brain stem down into the internal organs, including the gut. The vagus nerve sends and receives messages to and from the gut.
The Enteric Nervous System
Throughout the gut, there is actually a dense network of nerves. This is called the enteric nervous system, and is more or less the equivalent to having brain cells in your GI tract.
Bacteria can send chemical signals that are received by the nerve cells in your gut, which then get relayed to your brain through the vagus nerve. The brain can also send signals down to the gut via these nerves in the enteric nervous system.
Bacteria from the gut can even migrate up this vagus nerve into the brain. We likely also have a bunch of microbes, good and bad, in our actual brains, but that’s still an area of study that is very new and underdeveloped. I’m sure we will hear more about that in the next couple of years.
So how exactly do bacteria interact with this enteric nervous system? Well, many bacteria have metabolic biproducts that they create that act as signaling molecules in our body. Some of these include neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine and GABA. They also produce short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid which interacts with our cells in beneficial ways. Bacteria in our guts can even influence our vagal nerve function and dictate our response to stress. They are also affect memory, cognition and brain resilience.
Which Species are Best?
So now that you atleast have a little background on how gut microbes can influence our brain and mood health, lets get to the part that you’re actually watching this video for. What are the best probiotics as far as species to look for if you’re trying to improve your gut-brain connection?
Here are the best probiotic strains that have been found to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
So I’m going to group these species by their genus. We have 3 main genera of probiotics on the market.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus helveticus, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans have all been studied for their antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects and appear to be the most important strains for brain and mood health.
L. plantarum and B. subtilis increase serotonin and acetylcholine production, supporting mood, memory and cognition.
B. subtilis also increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels as well as reducing aggressive behavior.
L plantarum, B. longum increase brain derived neurotrophic factor or bdnf which promotes neuroplasticity and neuron health. (I talk more about that in another video I made)
L. plantarum decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines.
L helveticus and L. plantarum lowered cortisol and other stress hormones which normalizes the HPA stress response and anxiety levels.
L helveticus was even compared to and SSRI and performed better than the drug at normalizing serotonin levels and reducing stress hormone levels.
B longum has been found to reduce overexcitation of neurons in the gut which is related to glutamate excitotoxicity, a driver of depression and brain inflammation. I have a video on glutamate excitotoxicity for those who want to dive deeper into that.
Bacillus coagulans strain lactospore was found to decrease depression in those with IBS and improve life satisfaction scores.
So while these all sounds pretty great, here’s some things to consider:
Some strains are more stable than others. So while, for example, the bifidobacterial species have impressive benefits, the truth is, most of them die at room temperature and do not survive transport very well. The vast majority on non-refrigerated probiotic formulas with any of the Bifidobacterium species likely contain most dead organisms. Even if they are in delayed release capsules, or freeze dried etc, unless you get these Bifidobacterium fresh from the factory, you’re likely getting a majority of dead, unviable organism.
We see this in particular with the patented strains of L. helveticus Rosell-52 and bifidobacterial longum Rosell-175. Where their fragility and tendency to quickly die make them less practical in use in commercial probiotics versus clinical trials where they do no undergo manufacturing and shipping processes.
This challenge makes the spore-forming bacillus probiotic species such as bacillus subtilis and coagulans some of the better options since they are resistant to heat.
Virtually all of the lactobacillus and bifidobacterial strains also die in the stomach. Even if you manage to get your hands on live organism at the time of purchase, once you swallow these guys, virtually none will survive your stomach acid, even with delayed delivery methods. Even if they somehow make it to your small intestine alive, the truth is, lab grown probiotics are genetically different than the type that actually live and reproduce in your gut. For example, probiotics grown in a liquid media culture will experience genetic changes such as growing flagelli, in order to adapt to their environment. This makes them ill-equipped for thriving in the human intestine and reproducing at all.
Again, this is a good case for the spore forming species, since they have been proven to survive stomach acid and even adhere and reproduce in the human gut unlike the lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics.
So taking into account the scientific research and the concerns about survivability , if I were to summarize my top 4 choices for best probiotics for mental health, I would select B. subtilis, B. coagulans, L. plantarum, and L. rhamnosus. These strains have the best stability and survivability and have impressive results when it comes to the scientific research.
So now, you may be thinking, How am I going to find a probiotic that has these top 4 species you selected? Well I decided the world needed this type of probiotic and I created something just for all of you who don’t have the time or patience to search for a probiotic that isn’t garbage. I’ve done all the research on the best probiotics for mood so that you don’t have to and packaged it up into one convenient bottle of superior quality probiotics.
Check out my creation Zenbiotic. It’s a specialized probiotic made for brain and mood health. It’s based off of years of my personal and scientific research and was formulated very carefully with stability and functionality in mind. It contains spore-forming bacillus species, as well as the most robust lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species studied for mood. It also has patented bio-phage technology, plus prebiotic fibers. So, it is quite the specimen of a probiotic if I may say so myself.
Theres a link below if you decide to give it a try and want 20% off your first order.
I hope this video helped bring you some clarity on which species are the best probiotics to choose for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Please comment below and let me know what your experience with probiotics effect on your mood as been. And if you dug this video, don’t forget to subscribe because there is more where that came from my friends.
Smile on my warriors, see you next time!
Buy a Mood Boosting Probiotic With All of These Species in It!
Wang H, Lee IS, Braun C, Enck P. Effect of Probiotics on Central Nervous System Functions in Animals and Humans: A Systematic Review. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016;22(4):589‐605. doi:10.5056/jnm16018
Zhou L, Foster JA. Psychobiotics and the gut-brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015;11:715-723. Published 2015 Mar 16. doi:10.2147/NDT.S61997
Smith KS, Greene MW, Babu JR, Frugé AD. Psychobiotics as treatment for anxiety, depression, and related symptoms: a systematic review [published online ahead of print, 2019 Dec 20]. Nutr Neurosci. 2019;1-15. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2019.1701220