It turns out that there are certain foods that can significantly change the way you feel. I’m not talking about how eating a greasy cheeseburger can make you feel like you want to curl up in a corner, or how chowing down on a bag of candy can cause a sugar rush; I am talking about how what you eat can actually dispel anxious thoughts and a depressed mood.
Scientists have discovered that bacteria called psychobiotics create chemicals like serotonin, and deliver them to the brain. The findings are so impressive that doctors are thinking that they have discovered a whole new way to treat certain types of mental illnesses.
Psychobiotics are a type of probiotic that can be found in certain yogurts and beverages. It turns out some of these probiotic-rich foods also contain psychobiotics.
Although, finding out exactly how these psychobiotics impact mood disorders is still being determined, there has been researched to back the claim. At the University of Cork, when depressed rats were given the bacteria, they became more energized and had an improved immune system. At UCLA a study focused on women who ingested probiotic yogurt twice a day for a month. They exhibited changes in the part of their brain that regulates emotion.
This works the same way as any prescription drug that effects the brain works. When you take a drug like Xanex, it effects your brain through the bloodstream. These psychobiotics are doing the same thing. They are able to stimulate mood-enhancing neurotransmitters by the brain-gut axis, or the connection between the brain and the digestive system. However, to take in the amount of psychobiotics needed to vigorously effect the brain would require a lot, more than can be found in yogurt alone. In this case, they will probably need to be taken in pill form.
Since we are dealing with a naturally occurring bacteria, getting the testing needed to manufacture a psychobiotic medication shouldn’t be too far into the future. The side effects they have one those with mental illness are not as risky as other hardcore meds, so testing should be an easier hurtle to cross.
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