Could Your Anxiety Be Alleviated by Regulating Gut Bacteria?
Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash
A team of researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, set out to investigate if there was evidence to support improvement of anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, or gut bacteria.
The Importance of Probiotics
Bacteria is commonly thought of as negative. There are plenty of harmful bacteria that can lead to a number of risks when it comes to bacteria inside of your body. But with harmful bacteria comes beneficial bacteria called Probiotics. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that make up the microbiome in your gut or digestive tract and are the key to good health, especially digestion and regularity. Bacteria, though naturally present in the body, accounts for two pounds of bio-mass in your intestines, which need a balance of beneficial bacteria to promote good health.
Levels of probiotics decrease with age and can also be affected by other factors, including a poor diet and obesity. As levels of probiotics decrease, problematic bacteria in the gut thrive, which can lead to digestive probiotics like bloating and gas.
Researchers reviewed 21 studies of 1,503 individuals collectively, where 14 people had chosen probiotics as interventions to regulate intestine microbiota, and 7 chose non-probiotic ways, like adjusting their diet.
Overall, 11 of the 21 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, “meaning that more than half (52%) of the studies showed this approach to be effective.” Of the 14 studies, more than a third (36%) found them to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms.
The researchers conclude, “We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of intestinal microbiota.”