Over the past six months I have read a ton and written a ton on the many benefits of probiotics. As someone who prefers to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to health and wellness, I feel strongly that taking daily probiotics is the right decision for me and my family.
If you have heard about probiotics but are not quite sure what that term really means, here is the quick version. Probiotics are live bacteria that, when ingested, can help you maintain a healthy digestive system.
The way I explained it to my kids is to imagine our digestive systems as a castle. There are already soldiers (bacteria) presiding over the castle, but they are not all good soldiers. In fact, some of them have evil plans to take over the castle for themselves. However, when we send the good soldiers (bacteria from probiotics) into the castle, they fight off the bad soldiers and reign victorious, giving control of the castle back to the good guys.
Not a half bad analogy, right?
Given that about 70%-80% of the body’s immune system resides in the gut, probiotics have the potential to help the body in many ways. From stomach issues to oral health to allergies, probiotics influence a microbial balance in the intestines which can then reduce inflammation and help create balance in other areas of the body.
Now researchers also believe that probiotics could be effective in fighting off depression too.
Researchers from the University College Cork in Ireland found that probiotics, when ingested in adequate amounts, have the potential to aid in the treatment of depression and stress-related disorders.
It makes sense when you think about it. Many people who have been under severe stress or who suffer from depression can attest to the toll it can take on the body. Depression, stress, and diseases that can cause depression are often associated with inflammation in the body which could lead to further health issues. If probiotics can get your immune system and digestive tract back in-line (so to speak), it can then help to reduce inflammation and potentially even improve your mood.
Do not give up your Zoloft though, because there will likely be more research to come on this topic. However, we may soon see the day when there are new recommendations for treating symptoms associated with depression. Perhaps doctors will suggest trying probiotics to see if there is any improvement prior to putting a patient on prescription medication, or they may suggest that patients take probiotics in conjunction with prescription medications.
In the meantime, my family and I have gathered our armies and will be taking back our castles.
Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle. Also, the image above is of the probiotics that I take daily, though it should be noted that the product makes no claims to ease symptoms of depression.
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