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Why Kefir Is The Best Mental Health First Aid

Are you experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression? 

Now you can create your own mental health first aid kit! 

The trillions of living organisms inside your gut, known as your microbiome, have been found to impact your mood, through something called the “Gut-Brain Connection.” Scientific evidence is now mounting that the most effective way to treat your brain, is actually through your gut, through a “psychobiotic” or live culture product like kefir. 

The gut-brain connection explained

Often, the gut is referred to as the ‘second brain’. Ninety-five percent of your serotonin, or ‘happy hormone,’ is produced inside your gut by specialised cells called enterochromaffin cells. The vagus nerve runs between the gut and the brain, carrying information in both directions. 

Damage to this delicate system by antibiotics, sugar, stress or environmental toxins can result in improper amounts of serotonin being produced and distributed through the brain, resulting in anxiety and depression. 

How does gut bacteria affect the brain? 

Your microbiome interacts with your central nervous system to regulate your brain chemistry, stress response, anxiety level and memory function. This works through a connection called the gut-brain axis, or ‘GABA’. Gut bacteria within your microbiome also produce other chemicals which act on the brain, according to scientists, who think the finding may help explain why chronic gut conditions in people are often linked to mood disorders.

Interestingly, skin appears to be part of this connection as well. Patients with skin condition acne rosacea have a higher incidence of depression than the general population, and some evidence suggests that swallowing certain types of bacteria may improve both acne and depression.

How kefir can contribute to mental health

As kefir contains significant levels of calcium and vitamin A alongside trillions of good living bacteria, it contributes to normal neurotransmission and the normal functioning of the nervous system. 

The live bacteria in kefir can help as well, according to science. People who experience anxiety symptoms might be helped by taking steps to regulate the microorganisms in their gut using probiotic food, according to a review of studies published in the journal General Psychiatry.

Evidence is also mounting that gut bacteria can influence mood and prevent depression. As recently as February 2019, two large studies of Europeans found that several species of gut bacteria are missing in people with depression, showing that gut bacteria could make substances that affect nerve cell function, and possibly mood.

Previously, animal experiments had showed similar results. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have reversed depression symptoms in mice by feeding them Lactobacillus, a probiotic bacteria found in live-cultures dairy food including kefir. Researchers  observed that “a single strain of Lactobacillus is able to influence mood.”

To create your natural, mental first aid kit, we recommend the following: 

Gut-Brain Health Smoothie – This is a powerful combination of live kefir, which puts many strains of lactobacillus into your gut, and 18 different strains of prebiotics, which feed those beneficial bacteria. 

Ashwagandha: Clinically proven to help with depression and anxiety, this natural adaptogen works well with kefir to lower cortisol levels in your system and improve mental health. Most powerful when taken in tincture form.

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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