Now-a-days, probiotics has become a popular supplement for treating anxiety and depression. We all know that probiotics is helpful in improving GI tract health but as per the latest studies and clinical trials, it is proven that they have a major impact in treating physiological issues like depression and anxiety.
Connection Between the Gut and Brain
Scientists have named this relation as “Gut-Brain Axis”. As per this theory, intestinal bacteria balance has an important role in defining our neuropsychiatric conditions. As per researches conducted this theory, it is proven that gastrointestinal issues like constipation, abdominal pain and others can result in depression or anxiety.
How Probiotics Help in Treating Psychological Conditions?
Probiotics help to alter our mood changes in three ways…
- Healthy gut bacteria secrete neurotransmitters within the gut which triggers the cells present in the gut to secrete molecules. These molecules signal the brain and affect its behavior.
- A healthy balance in gut bacteria reduces the stress levels that involves brain and adrenal glands. Stress plays an important role in causing cognitive problems and mood disorders.
- Inflammation throughout the body and brain can lead to depression and other cognitive mood disorders. Probiotics re-colonize the gut and a healthy gut can reduce the inflammation present in any part of the body. This in turn results in lowering the inflammation.
Where Can I Get Probiotic Supplements?
You can purchase them anywhere either in local grocery stores or online stores like Amazon. However, with so many options available, you can get easily confused. For help, you can read our buying guide to make an informed choice. Apart from this, you can choose one from our researched list provided below…
Best Probiotic Supplements for Depression and Anxiety
|Garden of Life Probiotics||16||Check the Price|
|Dr. Ohhira’s||12||Check the Price|
|Bio-Kult||14||Check the Price|
|Hyperbiotics PRO-15||15||Check the Price|
|InnovixLabs||31||Check the Price|
|Lifted Naturals||9||Check the Price|
|DNA Shift||11||Check the Price|
Garden of Life is the first priority in our list as is specially formulated by David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist. The Mood + supplement of Dr. Formulated Probiotics has a unique formula which is formulated with clinically studied strains that are well known for supporting mood and gut health.
This probiotic supplement includes 16 bacterial strains that include L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. helveticus, L. paracasei, L. casei, L. brevis, L. rhamnosus, L. bulgaricus, L. gasseri, L. salivarius, B. lactis, B. longum, B. bfidum, B. breve, B. infantis, and B. longum. Most of these bacterial strains have been proven to be effective in terms of both mental and gut health.
Each capsule contains 50 billion live bacteria cells. Apart from this, the product also contains 350mg of organic ashwagandha and organic Alaskan blueberries. These two ingredients are perfect for managing stress, even in difficult situations.
Two particular strains – L. helveticus and b. longum are very effective in promoting emotion well-being and relaxation. This supplement also contains acacia prebiotic fiber which helps the probiotics to flourish in the intestines.
As this supplement is made up of 70% natural ingredients and even certified by QCS, it is completely safe. You can take the supplement with or without food. However, this supplement is not for children.
Things We Liked:
- Non-GMO Vegetable Cellulose
- 16 strains and 50 billion live cells
- 70% of organic ingredients
- Supports mood and gut health
- Hypoallergenic, soy, gluten and dairy free
- Improves immune system
- 350mg of organic ashwagadha and Alaskan blueberries for stress management
- Contains acacia prebiotic fiber
- Certified by QCS
- Formulated by Dr. David Perlmutter
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Has to be refrigerated
- Not intended for children
Second from out list comes Dr. Ohhira’s – which is one of the best natural probiotic blend present in the market that has been proven and tested to be effective. This supplement has a unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics or postbiotics.
The efficiency of this combination has been backed up by over 30 years of research and international studies. Unlike other probiotic products, the strains of this supplement are not grown or cultured in laboratory. These probiotics are collected from fermenting fruits, vegetables and sprink water for literally 3 years. A special kind of Japanese fermentation process is used so that only strong and highly potent bacterial strains are collected.
3 years into fermentation encourages to cultivate strongest bacterial strains that can survive even most harsh conditions. This is the reason why the bacterial strains can stay potent even they are not refrigerated.
This product has 12 different bacterial strains that include – Bifidobacteria, Entero-coccus faecalis, Lactobacilli, and streptococcus thermophilus. Apart from that, it also contains prebiotics which are non-digestive carbohydrates. They are perfect food for probiotics which helps to maintain the potency and even help them sustain the intestines.
The postbiotics are actually produced during the fermentation process. They have essential nutrients like short-chain fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and others that help in improving the health of colon.
This unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics help in improving gut and mood health. If you are looking probiotic supplement for treating anxiety or depression then this is the ideal choice.
Things We Liked:
- Probiotics cultivated from fermentation using natural ingredients
- Unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics
- 12 highly potent bacterial strains
- Doesn’t have coloring, additives and flavoring
- Non-GMO and completely vegetarian
- Doesn’t contain dairy and gluten
Things We Didn’t Like:
- This supplement is not suitable for people dealing with chronic fatigue
Next from our list comes Bio-Kult which has an advanced formulation that helps to improve gut health and immunity. As per many reviews, Bio-Kult has been very effective in improving the mood health.
The formula of this supplement is carefully blend by 14 bacterial strains that include B.subtilis, B. bifidum, B. breve, B. infantis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, L. helveticus, L. salivarius, L. lactis and streptococcus thermophilus.
The bacterial strains present in this supplement are extensively researched for supporting our body’s structural defense by maintaining gut’s bacterial balance. Apart from probiotics, it also contains soy and milk.
This product is tested in an independent and accredited laboratory for checking the bacterial count. This product is even tested for the quality as well. And as per the results, you can completely trust for the safety of this supplement.
Things We Liked:
- Research based formula
- The bacteria cells are proven to survive the stomach acid
- Bacterial count guaranteed till expiration
- High quality
- 14 protected probiotic strains
- No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors
- No refrigeration required
- Suitable for vegetarians
Things We didn’t Like:
- Contains soy and milk
The probiotic supplement from the brand Hyperbiotics is 15 times more effective than most of the other brands present in the market. The formulation of this product is specially crafted for supporting gut health.
This supplement contains 15 different probiotic strains that include – B. bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, L. reuteri, L. plantarum, S. thermophilus, L. gasseri, and L. rhamnosus. These strains have been tested and proven to be effective in supporting mood and gut health.
Apart from probiotic strains, this supplement also contains 25mg of prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides which help the probiotics to flourish in the intestines. This supplements helps to create an environment in the digestive system that supports full mineral absorption. This finally helps you feel more energetic, happy and vibrant self.
The strains are encapsulated in time-release micro-pearls which can withstand the stomach acid and other harsh environments. As these are vegetarian capsules, even vegans are take them. It is free from wheat, nuts, gluten, soy, GMO and preservatives.
Things We Liked:
- Time release formula
- 15 different strains and 5 billion CFU per serving
- Long shelf-life
- No refrigeration required
- All-natural supplement
- Vegetable micro pearl sized capsule
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Contains trace amounts of milk protein casein which is caused by fermentation
- May cause nausea or bloating in some people
This clinically grade probiotic formula makes it one of the best supplement for improving mood health. Apart from that, it also helps in restoring the gut balance, metabolism, immunity, digestive comfort and over-all wellbeing.
This supplement is formulated with 50 billion live cultures and 31 probiotic strains (most of the probiotic supplements in the list have less than this number). Apart from that, it contains lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, pediococcus, lactococcus and streptococcus in this formulation.
The outer shell of these capsules is specially designed to survive the stomach acid and are capable of targeted release with Bio-tract. The probiotic strains are cultured in USA, Italy, Germany and France. The product is tested in USA before selling it out. The supplement is manufactured in a cGMP certified facility.
Things We Liked:
- 31 probiotic strains and 50 billion live cultures
- Supports healthy gut flora
- Improves mood, metabolism, immunity and digestive comfort
- Designed to survive stomach acid
- Targeted release with Bio-tract
- Manufactured in cGMP facility
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Contains milk. So, if you are allergic to dairy then stay away from it
This Mood Boosting Probiotic from Lifted Naturals is one of the effective supplements. It has 9 different strains that include B. infantis, B. longum, B. lactis, L. brevis, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, B. animalis, L. helveticus and L. rhamnosus.
Out of all those 9 strains, 2 of them (bifidobacterium infantis and bifidobacterium longum) are effective in mood support and anxiety relief. Other 7 strains are effective in improving immune system and gut health.
The capsules don’t have enteric coating so they may get damaged in stomach acid. However, they will reach the intestines unharmed if you take them with food. Once these strains reach the intestines, they colonize them.
Each capsule contains 30 billion colony forming units. Apart from that, it also contains GOS – a prebiotic which is effective in reducing anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. If you are really very overwhelmed by anxious and depression thoughts then this supplement can be very helpful.
Things We Liked:
- 9 bacterial strains and 30 billion colony forming units
- Specially formulated for treating anxiety
- Contains prebiotic called GOS
- Balances the bacteria present in the intestines
- Excellent for relieving stress
Things We didn’t Like:
- No time release or acid-resistance coating
Last from the list but not the least comes from the brand DNA Shift. If you are looking for some serious highly concentrated probiotic capsules then this is the ideal choice.
Instead of taking multiple lower strength ones, you can take one high dosage. Each capsule contains 50 billion live bacteria cultures and 11 different strains. This potent formulation ensures that these live cultures are delivered in the gut.
They are perfect for both women and men who want something to support mental and digestive health. For combating the stress and chronic fatigue, then take a single capsule daily on a long term basis.
They are manufactured in USDA certified GMP facility and also accredited by third party to ensure the claims made on the label.
Things We Liked:
- Improves digestive system
- 11 different strains and 50 billion CFU
- Highly potent bacteria strains
- Vegan and Vegetarian
- Manufactured in USA certified GMP facilities
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Didn’t work for some consumers
Research Studies Conducted on Probiotics for Anxiety or Depression
As per a study conducted on mice which proves that a connection between the gut and the brain which is often a referred to as ‘gut-brain axis’. During this study, mice were provided with certain probiotic strains and observed them under very stressful situations. As per the results, mice have shown to reduce stress and anxiousness. (1)
As per another clinical study, taking probiotics regularly has shown to reduce the depression and especially social anxiety. (2)
Which Probiotic Strains Are Beneficial…?
There are several probiotic strains available but not all of them are suitable for treating anxiety or depression. As per the research and studies conducted on humans and animals, 9 strains are most promising to help in treating anxiety and stress.
While purchasing a probiotic supplement, make sure it has at least one of these strains if you want effective results. We have mentioned a clear description of each strain below along with scientific proof…
1. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
Rhamnosus is the most popular bacteria commonly found in the human gut. As per many research and clinical studies suggest that taking lactobacillus rhamnosus strain as supplement helps to lower the anxiety in humans. (3)
This strain works by changing the expression of GABA receptor which is the main relaxing and inhibitory neurotransmitter in our central nervous system.
As per a study published in 2011, they specially documented the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus on neurotransmitter systems present in the central nervous system. According to the observation, administering lactobacillus rhamnosus to mice has altered the GABA (which is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter). Another study on mice has concluded that L. rhamnosus decreased obsessive compulsive disorder and other psychological issues.
2. Bifidobacterium Longum
Longum is another commonly bacteria strain which is very effective in preventing the over growth of pathogenic organisms. As per the researches, bifidobacterium longum can reduce the cortisol levels and helps to reduce the psychological distress like anxiety, obsessions, anxiety and paranoia.
As per many clinical researches on animals, it has been found out that this strain can significantly decrease anxiety like behavior even in chronic conditions. As per a study conducted on mice (with anxiety issues caused by chronic inflammation), it has been observed that B. longum has reduced anxiety and improved normal behavior.
3. Lactobacillus Plantarum
In the wide range of probiotic strains, lactobacillus plantarum is another effective one to reduce anxiety. As per the study, researchers have given L. plantarum to patients suffering with irritable bowel syndrome. After the observation, the patients have reduced the anxiety and also improved their life quality.
According to the animal studies, L. plantarum have positive changes in changing emotional behaviors and effectively reduce anxiety as well. This is achieved by lowering the stress hormone levels, reduce inflammation, increase dopamine and serotonin. And moreover it doesn’t cause any side effects. This particular strain has the ability to treat several neuropsychiatric disorders that include anxiety.
4. Lactobacillus Helveticus
This particular strain has the ability to reduce the cortisol levels and have anti-anxiety effect. As per certain studies, it is also clear that this particular strain can even help reduce obsessive –compulsive thoughts and paranoid thoughts as well.
As per the studies, western style diet can have a negative impact on the gut microbe, lead to anxiety and increase brain inflammation. But L. helveticus helps to protect against this effect, reducing the anxiety as well as the swelling.
As per one study, L. helveticus works better than citalopram (common anti-depressant). It helps to reduce the stress levels and increase serotonin levels.
5. Lactobacillus Reuteri
This strain was discovered in 1980’s and is known for anti-inflammatory effects. Though they are usually found in human gut, some people have them in very low levels.
Several studies have shown that L. reuteri is capable of reducing anxiety by decreasing the stress levels and altering the GABA receptors. As per a particular study, absence of L.reuteri has shown social deficits in animals. Once these animals are provided supplement this particular strain, the researchers have been able to reverse the behavioral deficits.
6. Lactobacillus Casei
Another effective probiotic strain is L. casei which has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to a double-blind placebo, the patients suffering from chronic fatigue and digestion problems were given L. casei for 2 months. After this time period, a significant decrease in the mood disorders like anxiety have been observed. So, it is very beneficial for anxiety, fatigue as well as several digestive issues.
7. Lactobacillus Fermentum
Fermentum is another commonly found probiotic bacteria in the human microbe. Though there hasn’t been such research on this strain, whatever is available is good enough to conclude that it may be helpful with anxiety issues.
As per the researches, antibiotics can imbalance the gut microbiome. Taking L.fermentum regularly helps to reduce the inflammation and alter the psychological problems that includes anxiety. So, if you have been taking antibiotics regularly and observed anxiety getting worse then taking probiotic supplements can be of a great help.
8. Bifidobacterium Breve
This beneficial bacteria is mostly present in breast milk and gut. But as we get older (above 20), the amount of bacterial cells of this strain reduce. According to several researches, B. breve has helped to reduce anxiety behavior. Studies conducted on animals with this strain have shown better results in cognitive tests.
If anxiety is interfering your capability in completing tasks and impairing your cognition then supplementing with this supplement ensures to deal with them.
Not all beneficial bacteria are probiotics. Prebiotics can also be helpful in dealing with anxiety and other mood disorders. Prebiotics (non-digestible soluble fibers) stimulate the breeding of good bacteria and finally result in treating anxiety, depression and also improve metal health.
Galacto-oligosaccharides is one of the beneficial prebiotics. According to some studies, this particular prebiotic has helped in decreasing the cortisol levels. Apart from that, the patients have shown interest in positive thinking rather than negative thinking.
In some cases, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can be reason for anxiety issues as it is caused by lack of microbial diversity in the gut. If IBS sufferers are provided with prebiotic supplement containing GOS then it can significantly improve mental health and reduce anxiety.
10. Bifidobacterium Animalis
This particular strain mainly resides in our large intestines. Though there are not much studies related to this strain but some studies state that it is beneficial for reducing intestinal discomfort and bloating which are often related to IBS. As we already know that digestive discomfort can also be one of the reasons for anxiety and depression, B. Animalis can be an indirect solution for treating them.
This strain acts as an antibiotic to reduce the oxidative stress and enzymatic activity of monoamine oxidase. It also inhibits or reduces the neuroinflammation which decrease depression and anxiety.
11. Bifidobacterium Infantis
Actually, Bifidobacterium infantis is a sub-specie of bifidobacterium longum. As per a study published by Desbonnet, they investigated the anti-depressant properties of bifidobacterium infantis on rats. As per their observation, lack of beneficial bacteria can alter monoaminergic activity and raise depression levels. So, they have administered bifidobacterium infatis to rats for 14 days. So as per the results, B. infantis has shown to improve anti-depressant effects by modulating serotonin and dopamine levels.
12. Lactobacillus Acidophilus
This is the most popular bacterial strains of probiotics. It is commonly present within the GI tract and oral mucus linings. There have been many clinical studies and researches that proved the effectiveness of this strain in terms of treating vaginal infections, diarrhea, SIBO and many other GI issues. Apart from that, this strain also improves immunity, reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
As per the study conducted at Rousseaux, the effect of L. acidophilus has been observed on animals. As per the observation, L. acidophilus has decreased anxiety, depression and pain. Apart from that, it also helped to enhance mood enhancing properties.
13. Bifidobacterium Bifidum
As per a clinical study, patients who were dealing with depression were given probiotic supplements (that included B. bifidum) for 8 weeks. After that this time period, researchers studied the severity of depression and observed a significant decrease in reducing insulin levels, inflammation and depression as well.
How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement?
This buying guide informs you about the factors to consider while selecting a probiotic supplement. Considering them you can make an informed choice.
1. Combination of Different Strains
Whenever you choose a probiotic supplement, make sure it has at least one or two main bacterial strains. We have mentioned several information about different beneficial strains above in the article.
2. Colony Forming Units
CFU’s represent the number of live bacteria present in each dosage of the supplement. The more the numbers are, the more effective the supplement is. If the product contains any enzymes or micronutrients then check the percentage on the label of supplement.
3. Delay Release Technology
The outer shell of the capsule should not rupture in the stomach as the strains will die in the harsh acid content. The delay rupture technology helps to withstand the stomach acid and reach the intestines.
4. Free of Harmful and Artificial Ingredients
If the supplement contains any harmful ingredients like fillers, binders, artificial colors, blenders, flavors or any others then you should avoid taking it. We recommend preferring probiotic supplement with naturally extracted ingredients. And also check the ingredients before purchasing to know if you are allergic to any one of them.
5. Manufacturing Conditions
Make sure the supplement is manufactured in a FDA and GMP certified facility. This ensures that the supplement is of high standard.
6. Third-Party Verification
Actually, most of the manufacturers claim about their product with many millions of probiotic strains. But we don’t know how true that is. However having third verification makes this product more trustworthy.
Mood disorders, especially depression or anxiety can be hard to deal with and can interfere with daily tasks. As we already mentioned that our gut and brain have a connection. You should heal the imbalance your gut bacteria to improve your mental health. This can be solved through probiotics.
You can get them through either real food or supplement. If you go with supplements then remember that not all probiotics are formulated the same. So, we recommend reading our buying guide so that you can make an informed choice.
As per our research, we recommend “Garden of Life Mood Supplement”. It is the best supplements in terms of quality, formulation and other many others.
So finally, which product did you choose? Have you tried probiotics earlier? Do you want any other information about probiotics? Write to us in the comment section below. We will reply as soon as possible.