Can Probiotics Help Fight Depression?

African American woman eating yogurtA diet rich in probiotics can have a major impact on how you feel emotionally. Here’s what science has to say about how these “good” bacteria can boost your mood and so much more.

What are Probiotics?

These live bacteria can be found in your body, as well as in supplements and foods like yogurt (fermented with live cultures), Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, among others. Best known to promote digestive and immune health, researchers have discovered that this “good” bacteria may boost mental health as well.

What Does Science Say?

In a small study, conducted at Leiden University, researchers found that among 40 healthy participants, those who underwent several weeks of probiotic treatment showed a drop in negative thoughts and feelings.

For the study, researchers administered multi-strain probiotics to 20 healthy subjects every day, for four weeks – while the remaining received a placebo. According to questionnaires completed before and after the trial, participants who took probiotics experienced fewer periods of being down in the dumps, then those in the placebo group.

“Unquestionably, further research needs to be carried out,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University, told The Huffington Post. “But the hope is that probiotics supplementation may work as a potential and effective preventive strategy for depression.”