Can Prebiotics Reduce Anxiety?

At RC Fitness in Houston, TX, we focus on finding ways to boost not only your physical well-being, but your mental well-being as well. While looking good is fabulous and can make you feel better, if you suffer from issues like depression and anxiety, it’s not enough. There’s good news. Many of the things you do to help your body can also improve your mental health. You can reduce anxiety through exercise and the right diet. Studies show the right balance of gut bacteria can improve depression and anxiety, but to get that healthy balance, you need to feed the bacteria the right food. That’s where prebiotics enter the picture.

Your body has more microbes than cells.

While there’s a bit of dissent about just how many microbes the human body contains, the ratio at 1.3 microbes per human cell is the latest accepted balance. The microbes help you live healthier. It’s everywhere on your body, from skin to lungs, but mostly in the digestive tract. Your microbiome affects your digestion, your immune system and can affect your mental health. There’s a gut-brain connection that scientists are now discovering, which can modify your outlook on life.

The connection between the brain and the gut goes both ways and is called the gut-brain axis.

Your hormones are affected by your gut bacteria, as are your immune and nervous system. The type of microbes that live in your gut affect how your body works. It also affects your mental health, according to recent research. Studies show that the more diverse your gut microbes and the fewer disease causing ones, the less chance you have of depression. How do you boost your healthy bacteria and make your microbes more diverse? Taking probiotics is one way, but so is providing the food healthy bacteria needs to grow, which are prebiotics.

Studies show providing probiotics and prebiotics can increase healthy bacteria and improve mental health.

The type of food you eat feeds more than just you, it feeds your microbiome. If you’re eating junk food, you’re probably feeding harmful bacteria and yeast, creating an imbalance. There are studies that show that prebiotics may help people cope with stress. Some microbes create cortisol that lead to stress and anxiety. One study showed that consuming GOS—galacto-oligosaccharides—a prebiotic—helped reduce the level of cortisol, which is directly related to stress and anxiety. The decrease in cortisol was linked to an increase in the bifidobacterium in the gut. Foods containing GOS include dairy, beans and some root vegetables.

  • Too many bad microbes in the gut leads to inflammation and stress. Chronic stress response can cause anxiety. It can deplete the body of good bacteria that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA and dopamine that communicate with the brain.
  • When you feed the beneficial microbes with prebiotics, they displace the negative ones that help create anxiety. By producing the neurotransmitters, the healthy bacteria help relax the mind and have a calming effect.
  • Inflammation is reduced by lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which prebiotics feed. That too helps lower stress levels and anxiety. If you take an antibiotic, it can kill off beneficial bacteria, too. Eat prebiotic-food and probiotics to replace the healthy bacteria.
  • Not only will using prebiotics feed healthy microbes, it can help you lose weight. Studies show that prebiotics can help brain function, heart health, blood sugar regulation and immune health by improving your microbiome.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

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