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Brain Body Well ~ Natural & Lifestyle Medicine / Digestive Wellness / Mental Health

Probiotics for Anxiety

If you’re looking to improve your mood and reduce anxiety, you may want to consider adding probiotics to your daily routine. Both probiotic supplements and probiotic foods have been shown to calm anxiety and improve mental wellbeing.  In this post I’ll be focusing on the two specific strains of probiotics that have proven benefit for anxiety symptoms.

Probiotic Supplements for Anxiety

Probiotics can be a great addition when it comes to improving your mental health. This has been well supported by research. However, if you think you can use just any probiotic and see a benefit, think again. You will likely be wasting your time, and your money. The fact is, not all probiotics have been shown to improve mental health. Rather the research has zeroed in on specific species of probiotics that have been proven to reduce anxiety and improve mood.  These specific species include Lactobacillus helveticus (R0052) and Bifidobacterium longum (R0175). I’ll refer to them as L. heveticus and B. Longum for short.

How do they work?

L. helveticus (R0052) and B. longum (R0175) have been shown to have a positive impact on mental health through their ability to balance the gut microbiome and support the production of mood altering brain chemicals.

One of the main ways that L. helveticus (R0052) and B. longum (R0175) can improve mood is by regulating the production of serotonin, a brain chemical which plays a key role in mood and feelings of well-being. These probiotics have also been shown to increase the production of serotonin in the gut, which can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.

In addition to their effects on serotonin, these probiotics can also help to reduce inflammation in the gut which has been linked to anxiety and depression. By reducing inflammation, these probiotics may help to improve overall gut health, which in turn helps to improve brain and mental health.

Yet another potential way that these probiotics may improve mental health is by reducing the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol.  High levels of cortisol have been linked to the development of anxiety and mood disorders and by keeping stress hormones balanced, these probiotics may help to buffer these effects.

Okay, great! How do I find them?

If you’re thinking of taking these probiotics you need to make sure that any supplement you purchase is strain specific. That means finding products that list the correct strain number on the package. The number matters because each strain of probiotic has its own unique characteristics and effects on the body. Only the R0052 and R0175 strain of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have shown anxiety reducing and mood boosting effects.  If you need help finding these products please send an enquiry and I will be happy to assist.

Last but not least! While these specific probiotic strains have a positive impact on mood and anxiety, it’s important to note that they are NOT a replacement for the other steps involved in an anxiety treatment plan. To find out more about a comprehensive approach that ticks all the boxes, check out my Nourished Nerves Program.

In short, while probiotic supplements may not be enough to get the optimal anxiety relief your looking for, they certainly can be a useful addition to an overall wholistic approach.


Messaoudi, M. et al. 2010 Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects, The British Journal of Nutrition, 105 (5), p755-764.

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