Struggle with the “the cup is half empty” voices in your head? Tend to focus on unpleasant thoughts or feelings continually looking at the negative side of life? Besides snapping a rubber band on your wrist for each negative thought, there’s an easier way to set the foundation for more optimistic thoughts and conversations going on throughout your day.
“Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, are fundamental in improving digestion and immune function. Steenbergen and her fellow researchers (Psychologists Laura Steenbergen and Lorenza Colzato from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition published their findings in Brain, Behavior and Immunity) were the first to investigate whether the administration of multispecies (containing different strains) probiotics for at least 4 weeks has a beneficial effect on rumination (i.e., recurrent thoughts about possible causes and consequences of one’s distress). “Rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression” says Steenbergen. “Persistent ruminative thoughts often precede and predict episodes of depression.”
Compared to subjects who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the multispecies probiotics intervention showed significantly reduced ruminative thoughts. Colzato: “Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.””
How interesting the “gut” – brain connection. Seems a healthier the gastrointestinal tract can benefit even our thought processes, which is so amazing to me. I take probiotics in a daily meal supplement shake. I have used the Vega brand shakes, and have just recently switched to Phood brand (MUCH better taste). Both have a generous probiotic supplement. I don’t find that I have constant negative thoughts, may still get upset over circumstances, but get over it quickly.
If you’re not taking a probiotic now, do a little 4 week test and see what happens when you do – what do you notice in your thoughts? Very interesting!
- Laura Steenbergen, Roberta Sellaro, Saskia van Hemert, Jos A. Bosch, Lorenza S. Colzato. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003