Probiotics might help boost emotional health

Could yogurt be helpful for regulating emotions?

Could yogurt be helpful for regulating emotions? Effexor users should know that a plethora of studies show that the probiotics in yogurt and similar dairy products that are important for the intestinal tract may also benefit their emotional health.

According to the most recent study by researchers at UCLA and published in the June 2013 edition of Gastroenterology, healthy women with no psychological or gastrointestinal issues experienced positive effects in brain regions controlling senses and emotions.

Previous research
Another article by researchers at University College Cork, which was published in the June 2012 edition of Molecular Psychiatry, revealed a , stress and depression. Using a mouse model, scientists learned that when a certain bacteria was absent in the gut during childhood, this affected their levels of serotonin in the brain during adulthood. Serotonin is important because it regulates mood. Additionally, when researchers added gut flora to mice after they had reached adulthood, it could not reverse the effects that prior lack of gut bacteria had on their brains.

Though mice seem very different from humans, this type of research is commonly accepted in the medical field as a good indicator of likely human biological reactions. With this study, researchers further confirmed the connection between the digestive system and brain health:

"As a neuroscientists these findings are fascinating as they highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, and opens up the intriguing opportunity of developing unique microbial-based strategies for treatment for brain disorders," said John Cryan, one of the study's primary authors and head of the anatomy and neuroscience department at UCC.

The implications
This research translates to human children in an important way: Fairly routine things like diet, antibiotic use and infection can change the level of bacteria in the gut. The evidence highlights the need for more research to determine how children's brains are changed due to changing bacteria levels.