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Did you know that there are roughly 40 trillion bacteria living in and on you?
Most of these bacteria reside in your gut and don’t cause any health problems.
In fact, scientists have begun to realize that these bacteria are essential for your physical health.
Now compelling new research has found these bacteria may also be beneficial for your brain and mental health.
This article explains how your brain is affected by gut bacteria and the role probiotics may play.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria. When consumed in sufficient quantities, they provide a specific health benefit (1).
The word “probiotic” is derived from the Latin words “pro,” meaning to promote, and “biotic,” meaning life.
Importantly, in order for a certain species of bacteria to be termed “probiotic,” it must have a lot of scientific evidence behind it showing a specific health benefit.
Unfortunately, the word probiotic has become overused by food and pharmaceutical companies who were calling some bacteria probiotics even if they had no scientifically proven health benefit.
This led the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to ban the word “probiotic” on all foods in the European Union.
However, there is a lot of new scientific evidence showing that some bacterial species have true benefits for health.
They may benefit those with conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eczema, dermatitis, unhealthy cholesterol levels and liver disease (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Most probiotics belong to one of two types of bacteria: Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria. There are many different species and strains within these groups, and they may have different effects on the body.