Probiotics for mental health?

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What in the world are psychobiotics?

Are you looking for the right probiotic to take for mental health? Probiotcs for mental health are an important consideration in a holistic treatment plan, but not all probiotics are the same. Let’s take a deep dive! Everyone’s heard of probiotics right? So what in the world are psychobiotics? Psychobiotics is an emerging field of research, or should we say an exploding area of research on the use of probiotics for neuropsychiatric disorders.

The link between the gut and the brain is well established in the scientific literature now. Researchers are looking more and more at how the gut microbiome and specific strains of both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria influence our brain health, and mood!

It’s fascinating to think about. The idea of taking probiotics for mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, is still a controversial one. This is mainly due to the lack of robust data and the cost of probiotics.

If you ask any Naturopath about probiotics for mental health, they will tell you the same thing! Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that make up a significant part of your immune system. The gut microbiota is a key consideration in every health case. Hear hear.

But there is nuance in the world of probiotics worth discussing further. There are currently hundreds of products available on the market, and it’s hard to know which ones to choose. How do you know whether it’s going to end up being an expensive exercise with no lasting results?

What strains are in the product?

So here’s the thing. There are different species and strains of bacteria (both good and bad), and there is different research and evidence for particular strains for specific things! Confusing enough? It really does matter what you are wanting to use them for. Determining which strains are relevant for the issue at hand is really key, because the evidence for one strain for anxiety will be different for antibiotic associated diarrhoea etc. What we are saying is don’t rush out and pick any bottle off the shelf at your local pharmacy, consult with a Naturopath who knows which ones will work, so you don’t fall foul of a nice looking marketing campaign.

In fact, qualified Naturopaths train for 4 years at university learning nutritional biochemistry, phytochemistry, anatomy, physiology and pathology to understand how to apply natural medicines. Many complementary medicines interact with each other, and with medications you might buy over the counter or take as prescribed, so it’s definitely worth checking with a professional before including complementary medicines in your regime.

What do I need to know?

So what are the key points when it comes to psychobiotics?

– There is an important relationship between the gut and the brain.

– Probiotics and synbiotics (combined prebiotics and probiotics) help in major depressive disorder, but not prebiotics alone (this was seen over 4-9 weeks of treatment).

– People with major depression tend to have a different bacterial composition in their gut when compared to people with out major depression.

The bottom line is, if you are suffering or struggling with a mood disorder, like anxiety or depression, it’s likely that the bugs in your gut are playing some kind of role. It’s a great starting point on any holistic wellbeing journey to find ways to optimise your gut health. When you improve your gut health, you are bound to have a flow on effect when it comes to brain health. The best way to modulate your gut microbiome, is with diet.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help improve your gut and brain health!

This is a blog post and not individual health advice!

If you are in a crisis please phone Life Line on 13 11 14. Information found on this website is not intended to be used as health advice, and is not a substitute for individual advice from your health practitioner. Always consult with your health practitioner for personal health advice. Moods For Wellness recommends that you seek support from your GP and a Psychologist alongside Naturopathy for the best outcomes. We don’t recommend to discontinue or change your medication in any way without consulting the prescribing practitioner. Natural medicines may interact with medications and should not be taken unless prescribed by a qualified Naturopath.

For support with natural medicines for mental health, make an appointment with Jean today. Find out more about our virtual clinic here.


Alli et al, “The Gut Microbiome in Depression and Potential Benefit of Prebiotics, Probiotics and Synbiotics: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials and Observational Studies “, 2022, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, available at:

Anand et al, “The Role of Gut Dysbiosis in the Pathophysiology of Neuropsychiatric Disorders”, 2022, Cells, available at:

Han et al, “Reviewing the role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of depression and exploring new therapeutic options,” 2022, Frontiers in Neuroscience, available at:

Goralkzyc-Binkowska et al, “The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Psychiatric Disorders”, 2022, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, available at:

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