Probiotics Could Alter Brain Function | Men's Health News

The Bacteria That’s Good for Your Brain by Jessica Girdwain June 3, 2013, 08:39 am EDT

Cheer up with Chobani? Probiotics—the “good” bacteria in foods like yogurt—may boost your mood, finds new research in Gastroenterology.

Brain scans revealed that people who ate probiotic-rich yogurt for 8 weeks and then took an emotional reactivity test experienced a decrease in certain brain regions linked to emotional, cognitive, and sensory centers.

Strangely, the bacterial environment in your gut can affect your brain—both positively and negatively, says study author Kirsten Tillisch, M.D. Probiotics influence your immune system and release metabolites that communicate with your nervous system and enter your blood stream, she says.

While yogurt isn’t necessarily going to lift your spirits today, anxiety and depression are both closely linked to gut disorders, so this study adds to an existing body of research. Down the road, you may be able to alter how your brain operates with specific strands of probiotics.

For now, there are plenty of other reasons to populate your gut with healthy bacteria besides a potential brain boost. Studies show probiotics may help your body stave off colds, aid digestion, and reduce stress. Besides yogurt, probiotic-rich foods include kefir (a milk-yogurt hybrid), kimchi (a Korean fermented cabbage), and miso soup.

via Probiotics Could Alter Brain Function | Men's Health News.