How Can Multi-Strain Probiotics Help Reduce Anxiety?
November and December aka festive season is a time of peak anxiety. Festive season is– Christmas celebrations planning, Christmas shopping, family relationship challenges along with so many events to squeeze in. At same time, we're putting our gut under greatest stress – fatty foods, more alcohol.
Eight out of 10 Australians report feeling stress in their daily lives, with 35 percent citing a significant level of distress. While personal finances (49%) and family issues (45%) stress us out the most, ironically, we're also stressed about our personal health (44%) and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle (40%).
Interview with Teresa Mitchell-Paterson, Naturopath, Nutritionist and Eagle Natural Health Advisor
Question: What role does stress play on gut health?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: Even if you are stressing about what you are going to wear for the office party and not some major drama, that is still stress! If you are a -stressy' person you'll be releasing adrenaline to help your body cope, but if you stress all the time the body releases hormones that increase a not so good response to stress, making you even more stressed which can lead to a leaky gut and IBS type health conditions. A leaky gut and IBS can affect our ability to respond well to stress – it's a vicious cycle, brain affects the gut and the gut affects the brain.
Question: How can we boost our gut health especially during the festive season?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: Tone down your need for perfection. Stress can ruin a good festive season. Try some yoga, some quiet time, or ask a friend to help you choose your outfits and help you plan. Try to eat well, generally you will find some fruit and vegetables if you are at a function, focus on eating healthily and leave out the sugary, deep fried foods and opt for lean proteins and wholegrain breads. Reducing stress and eating well will help to foster your gut health.
Question: What is the relationship between probiotics and reducing festive season anxiety?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: If you are stressed you upset your gut flora and therefore you could cause anxiety. Healthy mental function can be helped by psychobiotics – these are specific strains of probiotics that research suggests help balance our response to stress and anxiety. They can only be found in quality products such as Eagle Cytopro Balance and are not found in some of the other commercial brands.
Question: How can we feed our gut microbiota?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: Once you have established some good gut micrbobes with a quality probiotic, feed and nourish them with other probiotics, yoghurt, Kimchi, Kefir and salt fermented saurkraut. Then nurture them to flourish with prebiotics, which can also improve your emotional well-being, beans, legumes and whole grains.
Question: Why is it most important that we feed our gut microbiota today?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: Our stress levels are higher than they have ever been, with 1 in 5 people having experienced a mental health disorder and 14% of the Australian population having had anxiety somewhere in a 12 month period. Couple this with poor food choices and less available pro an pre biotics in food, and we may start to create poor gut microbes leading to the unhealthy cycle of gut affecting brain and brain affecting gut.
Question: How does multi-strain probiotics help address anxiety issues?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: A quality probiotic with specific strains Lactobacillus Helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 can increase tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin our happy hormone.
Question: Can you tell us about the studies and there results?
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson: Bifidobacterium longum R0175 and Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 in human studies increase a hormone called Brain Derived Neuroptrophic factor (BDNF), which is found to be low in people with anxiety states. Using a good probiotic was shown to increase BDNF over a 30 day period and improve general anxiety scores, psychological distress and improved problem solving skills in otherwise healthy people on the trial. Probiotics have other added benefits such as anti fungal, anti biotic to some gut bacteria and also reduce the symptoms of candida albicans.
Interview by Brooke Hunter