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  • Joan Rothchild Hardin

The Gut and Mental Health

It’s likely that the future of psychotropic medicine will be microbes like probiotics, not pharmaceuticals. We’re learning that what’s inside our guts strongly influences our mental along with our physical health.



Some intriguing examples:


  • A Boston-area psychiatrist successfully treated a teenage girl’s severe OCD and ADHD by adding probiotics to her diet. Within six months her symptoms were greatly reduced. At the end of a year she was symptom free – including free of the digestive problems that had also plagued her. (Arnold, 2013)


  • When anxious laboratory mice who were afraid of water were given the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus (JB-1), they showed lower anxiety levels, decreased stress hormone production and an increase in brain receptors for a neurotransmitter (GABA) that’s responsible for curbing worry, anxiety and fear. They even began hanging out in water, apparently enjoying themselves. The researchers commented that their findings “highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.” (Arnold, 2013)