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We’ve known for a long time that probiotics are good for intestinal health. But now it appears that the healthy flora found in many yogurts and supplements can also reduce anxiety and depression — issues we’ve more commonly associated with the brain.

Research on Gut Health and Anxiety

Researchers at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland, and their collaborators from the Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, fed the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus to mice for 28 days and found it influenced the way they responded to stress.

“There were changes in the brain chemicals that affect behavior,” says John Bienenstock, MD, one of the lead researchers. “The mice were less anxious.” The control group of mice, which was fed probiotic-free broth, exhibited no behavioral or chemical changes.

The study adds more oomph to the argument that there’s a direct link between what you eat and how you feel. In this particular case, if you want to feel less anxious, you’d be wise to add a probiotic to your daily supplement regimen.

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