All Posts Tagged: Gut

Probiotics & Prebiotics Neuropsychological Conditions

Probiotics and Prebiotics Influence Neuropsychological Conditions – 6 Surprising Facts About Microbes In Your Gut


Researchers have long suggested a link between the gut-brain axis and neuropsychiatric disorders such asautism, depression, and eating disorders. Using probiotics and prebiotics to alter the gut microbiota and influence the gut-brain axis may open up new ways of influencing neuropsychological conditions, says a new review.

The majority of the science for probiotics has focused on gut health, but as the understanding of the gut and the microbiome increases, probiotics are increasing linked to a range of beneficial effects, from weight management to immune support and allergy response, and from oral health to cholesterol reduction.

The gut contains microorganisms that share a structural similarity with the neuropeptides involved in regulating behavior, mood, and emotion–a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry.

At the “forefront of current research” is work on the gut-brain axis – the two direction communication between the gut microbiota and the brain. Data from rodent studies has indicated that modification of the gut microbiota can alter signaling mechanisms, emotional behavior, and instinctive reflexes.

Researchers have long postulated that gut bacteria influence brain function. A century ago, Russian embryologist Elie Metchnikoff surmised that a healthy colonic microbial community could help combat senility and that the friendly bacterial strains found in sour milk and yogurt Website Designing Company in Goa would increase a person’s longevity.

Researchers have shown that under certain conditions, some types of normal gut bacteria can trigger disease. Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology, dubbed these elements “pathobionts”; the term “pathogens,” in contrast, refers to opportunistic microbes that are not normally part of the gut microbial community.


According to a new review in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment by Linghong Zhou and Jane Foster from McMaster University in Canada, communication channels between the gut and the brain include sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and the enteric nervous system (ENS).

“The role of the sympathetic nervous system in the gut-brain axis includes regulating motility, blood flow, barrier function, and immune system activation,” they said. “Bidirectional communication via the vagus nerve, a component of the parasympathetic nervous system, is a well-established pathway for gut-brain signaling and, in recent years, has emerged as an important microbiota to brain communication pathway.

“The ENS, sometimes referred to as “the second brain” comprises intrinsic primary afferent neurons, motor neurons, and glial cells contained within the myenteric plexus and the submucosal plexus that extends along the entire length of the gut. The ENS plays an essential role in normal intestinal function including motility and secretion.”

Gut-brain axis

The body can’t tell the difference between the structure of these mimics and its own cells, so antibodies could end up attacking both, potentially altering the physiology of the gut-brain axis.

The bacteria present in the gut affects the communication between belly and brain, they said, and the lack of healthy gut microbiota lead to dysfunction in the gut-brain axis, which in turn may lead to neuropsychological, metabolic, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Intervention trials with select strains of probiotics have revealed that supplementation may influence mood (Lactobacillus casei Shirota), and anxiety and depression (L. helveticus and B. longum).

There is also some data to support an effect with prebiotics, with improvements in stress hormone levels and attention in health volunteers taking oligosaccharides.

Neuropsychological disorders

The role of the gut microbiota in the development of neuropsychological disorders is also a focus for many researchers around the world, with data supporting an association between dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) in the gut and disorders including depression and autism spectrum disorder, metabolic disorders such as obesity, and gastrointestinal disorders including IBD and IBS.

“Fortunately, studies have also indicated that gut microbiota may be modulated with the use of probiotics, antibiotics, and fecal microbiota transplants as a prospect for therapy in microbiota-associated diseases,” wrote Zhou and Foster. “This modulation of gut microbiota is currently a growing area of research as it just might hold the key to treatment.”

The Power of Probiotics

Probiotics offset other intestinal bacteria that produce putrefactive and carcinogenic toxins. If harmful bacteria dominate the intestines, essential vitamins and enzymes are not produced and the level of harmful substances rises leading to cancer, liver and kidney disease, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and abnormal immunity. Harmful bacteria can proliferate under many different circumstances including peristalsis disorders, surgical operations of the stomach or small intestine, liver or kidney diseases, pernicious anaemia, cancer, radiation or antibiotic therapies, chemotherapy, immune disorders, emotional stress, poor diets and aging

The best known of the probiotics are the Lactobacilli, a number of species of which (acidophilus, bulgaricus, casei and sporogenes) reside in the human intestine in a symbiotic relationship with each other and with other microorganisms (the friendly Streptococci, E. coli and Bifidobacteria). Lactobacilli are essential for maintaining gut microfloral health, but the overall balance of the various microorganisms in the gut is what is most important.

Another probiotic which has recently generated a great deal of interest is the friendly yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii, an organism that belongs to the Brewer’s Yeast family, not the Candida albicans group. S. boulardii is not a permanent resident of the intestine but, taken orally, it produces lactic acid and some B vitamins, and has an overall immune enhancing effect. In fact, it has been used therapeutically to fight candida infections.


1. What’s in Your Gut May Affect the Size of Your Gut
Need to lose weight? Why not try a gut bacteria transplant?New research published in the journal Sciencesuggests that the microbes in your gut may play a role in obesity.

2. Probiotics May Treat Anxiety and Depression
Scientists have been exploring the connection between gut bacteria and chemicals in the brain for years. New research adds more weight to the theory that researchers call “the microbiome–gut–brain axis.”Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that mice fed the bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus showed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Researchers theorize that this is because L. rhamnosus acts on the central gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system, which helps regulate emotional behavior.

L. rhamnosus, which is available as a commercial probiotic supplement, has also been linked to the prevention of diarrhea, atopic dermatitis, and respiratory tract infections.

3. The More Bacteria the Better
While bacteria on the outside of your body can cause serious infections, the bacteria inside your body can protect against it. Studies have shown that animals without gut bacteria are more susceptible to serious infections.Bacteria found naturally inside your gut have a protective barrier effect against other living organisms that enter your body. They help the body prevent harmful bacteria from rapidly growing in your stomach, which could spell disaster for your bowels.

To do this, they develop a give-and-take relationship with your body.

“The host actively provides a nutrient that the bacterium needs, and the bacterium actively indicates how much it needs to the host,” according to research published in The Lancet.

4. Gut Bacteria Pass from Mother to Child in Breast Milk
It’s common knowledge that a mother’s milk can help beef up a baby’s immune system. New research indicates that the protective effects of gut bacteria can be transferred from mother to baby during breastfeeding.Work published in Environmental Microbiology shows that important gut bacteria travels from mother to child through breast milk to colonize a child’s own gut, helping his or her immune system to mature.

5. Lack of Gut Diversity Is Linked to Allergies
Too few bacteria in the gut can throw the immune system off balance and make it go haywire with hay fever.Researchers in Copenhagen reviewed the medical records and stool samples of 411 infants. They found that those who didn’t have diverse colonies of gut bacteria were more likely to develop allergies.

But before you throw your gut bacteria a proliferation party, know that they aren’t always beneficial.

6. Gut Bacteria Can Hurt Your Liver
Your liver gets 70 percent of its blood flow from your intestines, so it’s natural they would share more than just oxygenated blood.Italian researchers found that between 20 and 75 percent of patients with chronic fatty liver disease–the kind not associated with alcoholism–also had an overgrowth of gut bacteria. Some believe that the transfer of gut bacteria to the liver could be responsible for chronic liver disease.


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Fermented foods for gut health

Why Fermented Foods Are Fantastic For Your Gut Health

fermented food gut healthFermentation isn’t just good for making wine. Fermented foods, (often those jarred foods floating in their own juices that you see at grocery stores,) actually improve digestion due to the probiotics produced during the fermentation process. Natural fermentation preserves the nutrients in food, and breaks the food down to a more digestible form.

Fermentation Around The World

Fermentation is nothing new under the sun. Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years and reaping their benefits. For example, Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that is often consumed in the German community and was popular during the Roman era . A different variation of cabbage, kimchi, is a common food item in Korea.


You may have seen something called “fish sauce” in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. This is made from mashed up whole fish that’s packed, salted and fermented, though some fish sauces are created through chemical processes, (avoid these kinds!)

Asian cultures in general often eat pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots.

Bulgarians regularly consume fermented milk known as kefir.

What’s Wrong With The Modern Western Diet?

Aside from the loads of sugar and additives, the technological advancements of the western diet have decreased the amount of probiotics and enzymes we would get from our foods. Pasteurized milk has replaced raw milk, pasteurized yogurt has replaced homemade yogurt, and other traditionally fermented foods have been replaced by lacto-fermented versions.


It’s time that we started adding these fermented homemade treats back into the western diet.

Additional Benefits of Fermented Foods

Budget – Fermented foods can contain up to 100 times more probiotics than a supplement! This makes these foods a more affordable probiotic source.

Nutrients – Some fermented foods are amazing sources of a rare to come by, but essential vitamin called vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 can help to prevent arterial plaque buildup and heart disease.

Vitamin K2 can also minimize the negative bone effects of nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes. Cheese curds, a byproduct of sour milk, is an excellent sources of probiotics and vitamin K2. You can also get many B vitamins from fermented foods.

Immune System – Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? The probiotics in fermented foods aid in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract, and aid in the production of antibodies that fight against pathogens.


Detoxification – The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods are highly potent detoxifiers that can draw out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals in the body.

The True Importance of Gut Health

fermented food gut health

There are a variety of areas where your gut plays a key role in that you probably wouldn’t expect! Here are some of them:

Behavior – a study published by Neurogastroenterology & Motility found that a lack of gut bacteria could change the neurochemical changes in the brain, provoking “high-risk behavior.”

Diabetes – A Denmark study indicated that type 2 diabetes in humans is linked to composition changes in intestinal microbiota.

Here’s a handy recipe to help you incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Always choose organic veggies to avoid harmful pesticides.

Fermented Vegetables Recipe


  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1 bag of carrots
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 apple
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • Turmeric

You will also need mason jars.


  1. Set the outer leaves of the cabbage to the side. Wash, then shred, chop or grate your red cabbage and carrots (aside from the outer cabbage leaves of course.)
  2. Place your veggies in a big bowl and sprinkle pink salt on them.
  3. Massage your vegetables until osmosis allows you to see all the liquid from your veggies in the bowl.
  4. Take the apple, ginger and turmeric and blend them until you get a yellow paste. Turmeric stains, so be careful when handling it. You can wear gloves and an apron if you like.
  5. Mix the yellow paste with your veggies in the bowl, then transfer your mixture to the mason jars.
  6. Push your veggies down into the jar so that their juices rise to the surface. Leave a space at the top for your outer leaves.
  7. Roll or flow the outer cabbage leaves to fit inside the jar so that they act as a seal.
  8. Store your jars in a dark room at room temperature. Open the jar to release the gases every three days.

fermented food gut health

You will know that your veggies are ready by their smell. When you take the lid off after a few days, your jar will release a sour, but pleasant vinegary smell. Once the texture is to your liking, remove the outer leaves and start consuming your fermented veggies first by eating one to two teaspoons a day, then gradually building up to one to two tablespoons per day.


20 Common Fermented Foods That Are Good For You

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How Gut Bacteria Affects The Brain And Body

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