Specialists call psychobiotics live microorganisms in the composition of the intestinal microflora, the correct proportions of which have a positive effect on mental health. Let's find out which foods and bacteria will help to cope with negative emotions.
The complexities of the relationship between the gut and the brain have long worried scientists and doctors. Even ancient Chinese healers and Indian healers noted that intestinal infections are accompanied by nervous disorders, and the relationship between metabolic disorders and depression was described by Hippocrates in his writings.
Approximately 100 years ago, academician I.P. Pavlov for the first time in scientific practice undertook research on the influence of microbiota on the nervous system, and the role of the pioneer of the positive effect of consuming live bacteria belongs to another academician - I.I. Mechnikov. It was he who came to the conclusion in 1907 that regular consumption of fermented milk products containing "Bulgarian sticks" (lactobacteria used in the production of yogurt) stimulates metabolism, supports immunity, slows down aging and improves the mood of melancholic people.
Modern science confirms that an imbalance of microbiota not only causes disorders of the digestive tract, immune and cardiovascular systems, the development of obesity, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, but can also cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, absent-mindedness and other unpleasant consequences.
According to the WHO definition, probiotics are "live non-pathogenic and non-toxic microorganisms, which, when used in adequate amounts, improve the health of the digestive tract and the body in general." It should be noted that not all probiotics reach the intestine in a viable state due to the acidic power of gastric juice, however, even half-live or dead probiotic microorganisms have a positive effect on the functioning of the intestine.
Do not confuse probiotics with prebiotics . Unlike living bacteria , these are only organic compounds (usually in the form of nutritional supplements), which nutritionists recommend consuming to nourish beneficial microflora.
Specialists call psychobiotics live microorganisms in the composition of intestinal microflora, the correct proportions of which have a positive effect on mental health. The term was coined by Professor Timothy Dinan, head of the Department of Psychiatry at the National University of Ireland, who, together with his colleagues, established that due to the outstanding properties of psychobiotics , they should be allocated to a separate group in the list of probiotics .
The relationship between the digestive and nervous systems is regulated through the gut-brain axis - a bidirectional communication system through which the brain controls the functions of the digestive tract and vice versa. Oddly enough, bacteria invisible to the eye - psychobiotics have a direct effect on the brain and central nervous system and, as a result, stabilize the mood, help in the fight against stress and depression.
Psychobiotics correct the emotional state in various ways. First, they stimulate the metabolism of important neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, which, in turn, affect our thoughts, feelings and behavior. 90-95% of serotonin is synthesized by intestinal cells, and only 5-10% is produced in neurons of the central nervous system. Serotonin takes part in the regulation of sleep, appetite, mood, memory, as well as in the work of the digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Serotonin's precursor, tryptophan, is responsible for the production of melatonin, an adaptogen with a wide range of superpowers, including regulation of circadian rhythms.
Secondly, positive representatives of the microbiota protect the walls of the intestine, strengthening the mucous membrane and protecting the blood circulation from harmful microbes. Thirdly, the antioxidant properties of psychobiotics reduce the activity of pathogens, and also rid the digestive tract of inflammatory processes, the toxicity of which is often the cause of depressive symptoms.