anxiety

EndoMune capsules displayed on blue background

Help Ease Your Anxiety with Probiotics

As our country watches the COVID-19 pandemic with apprehension, it’s no surprise that mental health specialists report a sharp increase in the number of anxiety and depression cases. A recent poll taken by the American Psychiatric Association indicates 36% ofAmericans said COVID-19 has made a serious impact on their mental health. If the physical isolation isn’t enough, the pandemic has escalated fears over potential job losses, bankruptcy, acute illness, and death.

Probiotic consumption has been a hot topic for research concerning the gut-brain axis in the past few years. The gut-brain axis (GBA) is the connection between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS.) That connection links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with our body’s intestinal functions. Recent research describes the important role gut microbiota play in these functions.

Probiotics protect against stress

That evidence suggests that probiotics can protect the body against the harmful physical and mental effects of stress. Conversely, it also suggests that probiotics can help regulate mood by keeping the gut microbiome balanced and performing optimally. That means if we want better mood and mental health, we need to take care of our guts.

However, gut bacteria can also be altered by stress, leading to suboptimal gut health. Moreover, other things can reduce the efficiency of our gut function such as antibiotics, intestinal infections, and poor diet – all of which can kill off beneficial or “good” bacteria. A lack of good bacteria in the gut has also been associated with other health problems such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Clearly, this evidence indicates we can’t achieve optimum health unless our guts are maintained at peak efficiency and fortifying our microbiota with probiotics may be a way to both fight and prevent anxiety and mood disorders.

How it works

The bacteria in our gut enhance our resilience to stressful situations by helping seal the gut barrier. When our microbiome is not balanced, its compromised, inefficient gut function can have a negative impact on our overall health (including mental health), due to leakage of hormones and intestinal inflammation.

If the gut lining stays porous for too long, it can allow toxins and toxic bacteria into our body, where some of those toxins can pass through the blood-brain barriers that protect the brain from these types of pathogens.

That’s how a balanced gut microbiome strengthens the gut lining, protects us against leaky gut, and reduces gut inflammation, which in turn plays a role in our mental well-being.

Inflammation also affects the central nervous system and can cause symptoms of depression; but conversely, depression can cause inflammation itself. That’s why having a robust, diverse microbiome is necessary to help control inflammation by strengthening the gut lining, and preventing unwanted toxins from entering the body.

Researchers report that people who suffer from anxiety often have symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS, gas, and diarrhea. These ‘co-occurring disorders’ help cement the conclusions over the importance of the gut-brain axis and its role in many common illnesses.

The link between the gut-brain axis plays a critical role in how healthy we are, and an ever-increasing body of evidence strongly suggests that the microbiota in your gut influences every other aspect of your overall health – including our mental health. Simply put, it seems that now, more than ever, it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle unless our guts are happy and thriving, and everyone’s first step to better health should be to repair our guts. Consequently, dietary changes and probiotics are some of the methods researchers use to alter the microbiota in patients to help treat anxiety and depression.

Since microbiota has such an important impact on your entire body, it’s not surprising that taking probiotics for your mood doesn’t just benefit our mental health in one way. Probiotics may also help other precursors associated with an increased risk of anxiety:

  1. Helps reduce inflammation, and research suggests that depression may be an inflammatory disease
  2. Increases tryptophan, the happiness hormone, which stimulates natural serotonin production.
  3. Certain probiotic strains, like L. Rhamnosus, help reduce levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.
  4. Some strains of probiotics may possess inherent anti-depressant qualities.

Research on probiotics and the brain-gut connection continues, but the importance of this connection seems clear. Incorporating more probiotic foods in your diet, is a great step to achieving robust overall health. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lifestyles and the ever-present temptations of industrialized food make eating well-balanced, healthy meals hard. The easy answer to that is to help our guts with a probiotic supplement like an EndoMune Probiotic.  Try one today – your body and your mental health will thank you.

older woman smiling and sitting in yoga pose

The Probiotic Treatment For Anxiety

Experiencing anxiety is more common than you think.

Think about the last time…

  • You went to the hospital for a medical test.
  • You gave a talk in front of a group of people, including some you didn’t know.
  • You had to make a decision about a problem with no clear-cut solutions.

Any one of those situations are potentially nerve-wracking, but they tend to pass pretty quickly.

But, if you’re frequently avoiding situations that could create excessive worries, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder, and that may be a real problem.

Many people — including health providers — turn to antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) or escitalopram (Lexapro) or benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax) to alleviate anxiety.

However, taking drugs (especially benzodiazepines) may create even more health challenges down the road.

Did you know taking better care of your gut health may be just as beneficial in treating anxiety?

The gut health solution

As you know, there’s plenty of evidence supporting the gut-brain axis, the connection linking your intestines, brain and emotions.

A new report by Chinese researchers, recently published in the journal General Psychiatry, reviewed a batch of studies, finding 21 studies that examined boosting gut health as a means to treat anxiety.

The success rate was excellent. Eleven of the 21 studies discovered improvements in anxiety symptoms by treating a patient’s gut health.

Interestingly, the results were split nearly down the middle with five studies finding success with probiotics and six studies treating patients through non-probiotic means such dietary interventions.

Of course, there were limitations, as most of the patients participating in these students were having problems with an array of health issues. Among the six studies that did examine gut health interventions to treat anxiety, four showed positive results.

Listed among the non-probiotic interventions was the use of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a natural prebiotic made from plant sugars and non-digestible starches. Additionally, FOS is one of the key ingredients in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

It’s important to remember prebiotics feed the good guys in your gut, but really do a lot more good when they’re part of an effective probiotic like EndoMune.

Drug-free treatments for anxiety

There are many things you can do treat anxiety that don’t require taking a drug:

All of these things have one important thing in common: Not only do they improve your overall health, they do wonders for your gut.

In addition to working on these healthier habits, be sure to take an effective probiotic like EndoMune, with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, plus a prebiotic.

What is IBS?

What is IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be an uncomfortable condition, but it is nowhere near as serious a health problem as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

However, IBS is still far more common, affecting up to 20 percent of the Western world. Symptoms include gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.

Understanding the combination of conditions that trigger this unpredictable health problem can be a mystery due to multiple contributing factors. Among the causes, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC):

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Food sensitivities
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
  • Motor problems that cause irregular movement in the bowels
  • Altered levels of gastrointestinal hormones and body chemicals that transmit nerve signals

The genetic effect

Near the bottom of the list of causes, the NDDIC cites genetics as a common source among family members with a shared history of IBS problems, but is noncommittal about its overall effect. A recent Mayo Clinic study may shed some new light on the genetics of IBS.

Researchers have identified a genetic defect, a mutation of the SCN5A gene that affects the absorption of water and electrolytes. Disruption of this sodium ion channel can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

After comparing the tissues of 584 IBS patients to nearly 1,400 healthy patients, scientists discovered the genetic defect in 2.2 percent of IBS patients.

Is a drug always the best, safest treatment?

Mayo Clinic researchers treated patients with genetic-based IBS successfully by using mexiletine, a drug that improved the sodium ion transport and eased the symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation for this small group of patients.

Mexiletine is part of the antiarrhythmic class of drugs that works by blocking some electrical signals in the heart to stabilize heart rhythms. (It has also been prescribed to treat nerve damage caused by diabetes.)

Unfortunately, medications may come with adverse effects. Antiarrhythmic drugs like mexiletine have been linked to reports of increased risk of heart attack and death, according to MedlinePlus. Those risks are especially elevated among patients who have suffered a heart attack over the past two years.

Taking mexiletine may also increase the chance of experiencing an irregular heartbeat and hasn’t helped people who don’t experience life-threatening arrhythmias to live longer. MedlinePlus warns against using mexiletine unless a patient has suffered life-harming arrhythmias.

Probiotics: The safer, better treatment option

The real problem with taking prescription medications like mexiletine: Too many of them only treat superficial symptoms but neglect to correct the real health problem. However, there is a safer IBS Treatment option that treats the “whole” patient holistically.

Taking a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day not only alleviates symptoms for many IBS sufferers, but corrects the underlying disorder and does it without the risk of any adverse side effects.

A Possible Anxiety-Free Future With Probiotics

For many, new stresses may arise as the result of the New Year. From New Year’s resolutions to the upcoming tax season, stress and anxiety can take a toll on the body. Recently, researchers looked at how stress and anxiety directly affect the gut-brain axis.

A new study on mice conducted by an international team of researchers found a connection between probiotics, stress and anxiety. Researchers divided the mice into two groups, one being fed a Lactobacillus rhamnosus-filled broth, a bacterium found in EndoMune Advanced, and the other a bacteria-free broth. Conclusions drawn from the study suggest that those that drank the Lactobacillus rhamnosus-filled broth were less stressed and produced less corticosterone, a stress hormone, when reacting to a nerve-racking event.

Although it is not conclusive that probiotics can replace medications for anxiety or stress, the study initiates the idea that alternative treatments, like probiotics, for anxiety or stress disorders may exist in the future. Read the full study and its implications here.

Scroll to Top