There are a lot of stressors in life, but one of the recurring ones is memory trouble.
Recalling faces, misplacing the keys, and remembering to do all the household chores can be annoying or even cause some serious problems!
But when you think of mental health, memory, and stress levels, I’ll bet you’re not thinking about your stomach, and surely not about bacteria.
But there’s a growing body of research showing that gut bacteria are associated with less stress and improved memory (1).
Probiotics are by no means a sure thing, but there is plenty of research on them that shows a number of health benefits for your heart, weight, digestion, and brain function. And although more research must be completed to form a more definitive prognosis of the benefits of probiotics, I for one can say I’ve experienced benefits from consuming them.
Boost Your Probiotic Intake to Diversify Your Gut Bacteria
A recent study featured 22 men who were given a probiotic supplement for one month, then given a placebo for a month after that; they didn’t know what they were taking during the trial. The supplement contained more than a billion Bifidobacterium longum 1714 bacteria (2), and was taken once per day. The group reported less stress and displayed better memory function for the month they were on the probiotic when compared to the placebo phase (and compared to how they felt before the trial, too). They also had less cortisol—the stress hormone—in their bloodstreams.
Although this study was small, the results mimic those found in rodent studies and complement the results of other studies showing the ties between gut bacteria and mental health (3).
The population of bacteria in your intestines—your microbiome—may be one of the most important factors in your overall health. And when it comes to mental health issues such as stress reduction, anxiety, and memory, it appears to play a highly beneficial role. A study has even shown that people who eat more probiotic foods such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut report lower levels of social anxiety and neuroticism.
Probiotic supplements are not very expensive and dietary sources of probiotics are readily available in your grocery store. Keeping cortisol low and controlling stress is central to your overall well-being, so boosting your probiotic intake to diversify your gut bacteria could pay major dividends. And if they can help improve memory, they can definitely make life less stressful!