Probiotics may help ease depression, research suggests.
The live “good bacteria” can be taken as supplements, or found naturally in yoghurts or fermented foods.
After analysing the mental health of participants across seven studies, scientists from the University of Brighton found taking probiotics – either alone or alongside prebiotics – was linked to a “measurable reduction in depression”.
Read more: Can workers take a ‘mental health sick day’?
Prebiotics are a source of dietary fibre that acts as a fertiliser for probiotics to multiply. These can also be taken as a supplement or are found in high levels in onions, garlic and leeks.
Although unclear exactly how these boost our mood, the so-called gut-brain axis is increasingly coming to light, with there supposedly being a relationship between the mind and the bacteria that reside in the digestive tract.
Not everyone is convinced, however, with other experts stressing the studies were of mixed quality. Probiotics should therefore only been taken as “complementary to standard treatments”.