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Are probiotics the new Prozac?


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Photo: Stocksy/Kayla Snell

There’s no denying the mind-gut connection, but are probiotics alone enough to treat depression? While mental health is complicated and there’s no quick, easy fix guaranteed to work for everyone, a new study shows a strong link between probiotic use and improved depression symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Here’s what went down: Researchers had people who were depressed and had IBS (real talk: dealing with gut problems on the reg will 100 percent mess with your mood) take either a probiotic every day or a placebo pill. Participants who took the probiotic had fewer stomach problems, and more improved moods than the other group.

“This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS.”

“This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS,” says gastroenterologist Premysl Bercik, MD, the study’s lead researcher. “This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders but also for patients with primary psychiatric diseases.”

Considering that IBS can become self-reinforcing—often people stress that they will experience gut problems, which in turn causes it to actually happen—it’s encouraging that probiotics can serve as a solution to both.

If you need help figuring out which probiotic to take, this guide can help. Plus, here’s how to calm your mind and gut in five minutes flat.