The hype and fervor surrounding probiotics and prebiotics is slowly fading away with the introduction of another new term ‘psychobiotics’. Quickly brushing up on our basics, probiotics are foods that contain microorganisms that improve the good bacteria count and prebiotics are those that act as foods for these microorganisms. Continuing research on the gut microbiota has introduced us to surprising results. The fact that bacteria have a positive impact on human health is known since ages, but we are learning more and more about the gut-brain connection and their definite impact on our appetite, mood and circadian rhythm too only for the past few decades. If curiosity gets the better of you, www.firsteatright.com is the website to clear any of your pending doubts regarding the gut-brain connection.
Establishing a Strong Connection
By definition, psychobiotics are live bacteria that confer mental health benefits by interaction with gut bacteria on ingestion. During early phases, psychobiotics were described as playing a critical role in treating psychiatric conditions but ongoing research has helped mankind treat these as beneficial agents that have a positive impact on anyone who suffers from anxiety problems, clinical depression and stress. Initially, psychobiotics were branded as probiotics that post-ingestion establishes positive psychiatric effects. The thundering study results showing improved immunity, decreased stress and better memory make each of us aware of the importance of gut bacteria in our lives and this leads us to exploring yet another new domain-psychobiotics.
Animal studies are what is happening in full pace now with only extremely limited human sample sizes which makes replication next to impossible. It’s been clearly proved that the immune system, vagus nerve, gut hormones and neurotransmitters are fully involved in the bacteria-gut-brain axis. Researchers are excited over that fact that these psychobiotics might help in treating psychological disorders and improve cognition down the lane. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s now have a new foe! Some suggest including antidepressants, antipsychotics, exercise and eating in the umbrella of terms describing psychobiotics due to their lasting impact on the human gut.
Wait Until Further Notice
Research is under way and nothing has been completely established but food products are stacked in supermarket aisles boasting psychobiotics effect. These are advertised as elevating the effect of antidepressants and antipsychotics but there is a long way to go before we conclude on anything. Material is available and hints are peaking out here and there on the positive effects of psychobiotics, but we need to channelize these hints and bring out the best possible. There have been correlations between eating a Mediterranean diet for an extensive period and reduced risk of depressive disorders. Researchers also feel that studying the gut microbes of those following a Mediterranean-style diet might help them identify bacterial strains that have psychobiotic activity. Once all these have been proved and advantages well-established, psychobiotics would be our dear future cure.