From Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (a.k.a. The Paleo Mom)
I really like her work. She is so intelligent and applies her Ph.D brain (in Medical Biophysics) to the practical and theoretical questions of living with Autoimmune disease (she has had a few including asthma, eczema, lichen planus) and through the Paleo lifestyle. I really appreciate her contribution, it’s outstanding in the field. This is from her Facebook Page” The Paleo Mom:
PS she is Canadian 🙂
Another reason to consume probiotic foods: less rumination.
What is rumination? Glad you asked. Rumination is defined as compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress/disease, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. I think of rumination as blaming something in your past for whatever isn’t great about your present. And as someone with three autoimmune diseases and a history of obesity, I’m an expert ruminator.
I believe that feeling of “why didn’t anyone tell me this before?!” is a natural part of any healing journey. However, if you find yourself overly lamentful, this actually indicates a higher risk factor for depression. In fact, rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression with persistent ruminative thoughts often preceding and predicting episodes of depression.
There’s of course a variety of different lifestyle and nutrition strategies aimed at improving mental health, and we can now add probiotics to the list!
A new study published this week took 40 healthy adults (not adults with a history of depression) and either gave them a probiotic supplement (including several different lactobacillus and bidifobacterium strains) or a placebo (and they all thought they were taking probiotics). The participants completed an extensive survey predicting vulnerability to depression both before the study and after being on probiotics for 4 weeks. And those participants that were on probiotics showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts–meaning they displayed better mental health and resilience!
The types of probiotics given to the participants in this study are the same strains found in fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut or kvass, lactofermented or wild fermented) and yogurts. The authors believed that having a diversity of strains was one of the reasons for the strong effect of the probiotics they gave the study participants. Well, wild fermented foods beats out any supplement in terms of probiotic diversity (sauerkraut can have up to 600 different strains whereas even an amazing supplement will only have 8 to 10 strains). Of course, if you’re sensitive to yeast, a yeast-free supplement is a great option!
The more we understand about the gut-brain axis as well as the extensive role that the probiotic bacteria in our guts play in our overall health, the more I am starting to think of humans as a “superorganism”, meaning an organism made up of many organisms. We are made up of ourselves as well as the 10 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms that live on and in our bodies–and our health is dependent on our symbiotic relationship.
The paper: 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