Researchers Want to Know If Probiotics Can Affect Mental Health

Ashley Abramson was 10 years old when she received a diagnosis of anxiety and an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Since then, she’s taken an antidepressant in various forms and doses almost every single day for two decades.
In recent years, though, this mom-writer hybrid from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has shifted toward a more holistic approach.
In addition to her medications, she’s tried herbal and vitamin supplements, chiropractic adjustments, and visits to a naturopath to see if they can also help lessen her symptoms.
And like millions of other people, she’s also used “pricey probiotics,” which she says would run her about $50 a month if she took them every day — which she doesn’t.
While most people may take probiotics to improve their gut health and potentially reduce their risk for gastrointestinal conditions like IBS, more and more people like Abramson are investigating if probiotics can help with their mental health in addition to their gut.
The rise of probiotics
Probiotics have risen in popularity in recent years thanks to studies that have found evidence that “good” bacteria in the gut may be associated with a variety of conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and colon cancer.
Taking probiotics in pill and powdered form are thought to boost your health by altering your gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria, yeasts, and fungi inside your gastrointestinal track.
However, the field is relatively new and researchers are still trying to understand the complex interactions of probiotics with naturally occurring bacteria.