On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, Andrea discusses the current research behind the gut microbiota and anxiety – and how diet can play a role!

How does your gut microbiota influence things like anxiety? and can diet help? Andrea Hardy RD explains in this Instagram post

🧠 Is it possible to support the treatment of anxiety by regulating the gut microbiota?🧠⁠

🦠We know that the gut microbiota can regulate communication between the gut and the brain via the gut-brain axis, and when the gut microbiota is affected, a series of changes in physical and/or mental symptoms can occur. 🦠⁠

In a systematic review, 21 studies were analyzed to clarify whether anxiety symptoms can be improved by targeting the gut microbiota. They looked at two kinds of interventions – probiotic and non-probiotic interventions. ⁠

🧫Probiotics are specific strains and doses of live microorganisms which are intended to provide health benefits when consumed (through fermented foods, or supplements) by improving the gut microbiota. ⁠

🍏Non-probiotic interventions included adding prebiotic fibre or adjusting daily diets like the low FODMAP diet. ⁠

MORE than half of the studies included showed that regulating the gut microbiota, in addition to the use of psychiatric drugs for treatment, can effectively improve anxiety symptoms and that it was extremely safe! What might surprise you is: non-probiotic interventions were significantly BETTER than probiotic interventions – meaning that making dietary changes were more beneficial in altering the gut microbiota to improve anxiety symptoms than adding probiotics. ⁠

So, if you are struggling with anxiety… diet appears to be a great adjunct alongside medication and therapy. ⁠

Bottom line: The bacteria in your gut appear to play a crucial role in mental health. Take care of them by consuming a variety of foods including foods that are high in fibre like whole grains, pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils etc.), vegetables, nuts and more!⁠

doi:10.1136/gpsych-2019-100056⁠