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Probiotics for Mental Health

Recently, I was interviewed by the magazine Men’s Health to discuss the positive benefits of probiotics and their potential applications for improving mental health and conditions like depression. I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the thoughts I shared in the article, and go over some key takeaways. Read the article and let me know what you think!

  • AnnieLaurie Burke

    The “medical advice” is to proceed with caution on probiotics, supplements and dietary changes — all of which are relatively benign, even if they don’t work on your specific problem — because we don’t yet have all the answers. Yes, proceed with caution, because different foods affect people in different ways.

    Sorry, this advice rings hollow and hypocritical. MDs routinely prescribe drugs that may be only marginally effective, and which come with some dam*ed serious side effects. They prescribe drugs with serious side effects for populations on which said drugs have not been tested, and which have varying responses to said drugs. They prescribe drugs with serious side effects “off-label” for conditions where their effectiveness is no more than anecdotal. The first drug’s side effects almost killed your child? Oh, here, try this one, the incidence of death among users is lower.

    Thousands upon thousands of Americans die each year from taking prescribed drugs in accordance with directions. But be cautious with food and supplements. After all, they have a major drawback — they cannot be patented to make millions for an immoral and poorly-regulated industry. Oh, they do have another disadvantage — they don’t have an army of well-paid lobbyists stuffing $$ in your Congressperson’s back pocket.

  • Larry Kueneman

    OK, I have a problem. Now age 86, I had polio at age 17. By age 18 I was aware of the loss of nouns (mainly names) in verbal speech. That loss is still with me. I have also heard that this problem is associated with polio, and I am a writer. A problem I have in looking up the types of dimensia is that a temporary recall problem is not mentioned, yet a few minutes after experiencing this recall problem the imaging associated with the particular usually name I missed floods back and the word is before me. I suspect that because writing takes longer than verbal speech this problem is far more rare in writing.

    I am also aware that in Alzheimers the problem is not recall, with the imaging still between the ears, but that the image is lost. So what’s going on.

    Larry Kueneman larryjkueneman@gmail.com

  • Ken Olsen

    I have dramatic personal evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics on the mental state. In August of 2015 I had a bleed on my brain resulting in a cerebral stroke. Although I regained my abilities to walk and talk after being initially paralyzed on my left hand side, I was left with a mild depression which, I have read, is not unusual after a stroke. I tried physical exercise, brain exercises etc. all with no real improvement. I could walk, but my balance was not good. If I looked to my left, or to my right, I felt that i was in danger of falling over. I just could not get myself to the point where I could work on anything with continuity even when I desperately wanted to… a very frustrating experience. Medications did not help, but rather hindered in that they had a deadening effect on my brain.
    I found that I had a copy of Dr.Perlmutter’s book “Brain Maker” in my personal library in which he highlights the gut brain connection and the role of inflammation, and with that in mind, I decided to try the probiotic fermented milk product Kefir which we we were able to produce ourselves once we obtained the basic culture (known a grains or seeds)
    Within less than an hour of drinking my first 50ml of the fermented kefir milk my brain fog of three years lifted, and I started to feel that I could actually do things again as I had been able to in my pre-stroke days. Over the next few days my balance started to return and I felt an increased stability in my walking.
    I would like to thank David for his work in bringing the results of today’s research to us in an easily digestible form, highlighting the fact that an understanding of how we function can enable us to overcome many of the health problems that afflict us effectively, and without the inevitable collateral damage that is side effect part of the “medication” approach to dealing with symptoms rather than looking for causes and treating them.

  • ConcernedCanadian

    My only contribution here is that when I took antibiotics for a UTI (which I’d had for 2 years and was unable to find a more natural treatment for) I plunged into depression – I have a history of depression but this onslaught was terrible. Then I read that this was one of the side effects of this antibiotic. The question is – could that side effect be the result of the medication’s having killed off gut bacteria – or is it due to some other mechanism?

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