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best probiotic supplements for mental health

9 Best Probiotic Supplements for Mental Health

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Gut bacteria play a critical role in your mental health because of the gut-brain axis. There is a bi-directional relationship between your gut and your brain, which connects through the vagus nerve. When your gut health is poor, it puts you at risk for mental health and mood problems. Correcting these issues is possible by taking the best probiotic supplements for mental health.

What Are the Best Probiotic Supplements for Mental Health?

Below, we cover our nine picks for the best probiotic supplements for mental health and some details on each.

Probiotic Strain

How It Helps Mental Health

B. bifidum

Helps with creating vitamins B12 and K, which influence mood

B. infantis

May help with relaxation and also helps with symptoms of IBS

B. longum

Helps with depression and anxiety, as well as IBS

L. Planatarum

Shown to increase dopamine and serotonin in mice and reduce anxious behaviors

L. reuteri

Can help boost mood and reduce pain

1. InnovixLabs Mood Probiotic

  • Contains Bifidobacterium longum
  • Formulated with two strains of bacteria specifically researched to help mood
  • May reduce stress
  • Supports emotional wellness and a positive mood
  • Helps with digestive discomfort, especially when it’s related to stress and anxiety

2. Lifted Naturals Mood Boosting Probiotic

  • Contains 30 billion CFU
  • Includes B. infantis and B. longum
  • Shelf stable (doesn’t have to be refrigerated)
  • Total of nine strains of bacteria
  • Helps with immune health

3. Garden of Life Probiotics Mood+

  • 50 billion CFU
  • 16 unique probiotic strains
  • Includes B. longum for mood support and relaxation
  • Prebiotics for gut health, including organic acacia and prebiotic potato fiber
  • Ashwagandha for further mood support

4. Life Extension Florassist Mood

  • Saffron and probiotic blend
  • Includes B. longum
  • Also includes Lactobacillus helveticus
  • 3 billion CFU
  • Supports healthy signaling between the brain and digestive tract

5. FRISKA Mood Boost Digestive Enzyme and Probiotic Supplement

  • Contains L. theanine and lemon balm, which have relaxing properties
  • Digestive enzymes for better gut comfort and health
  • 5 billion CFU
  • Helps the body convert food into energy
  • Includes B. longum

6. Hyperbiotics Gut-Brain Balance

  • Time-released tablets, so the probiotics bypass the stomach acids
  • Formulated with six specific probiotic strains to target mental health
  • Contains L. Plantarum
  • Includes L-theanine for relaxation and anti-anxiety relief
  • Supports memory and focus

7. Klaire Labs Mood Probiotic Powder

  • Shelf stable
  • Includes Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus
  • 5 billion CFU
  • Protected with PROBIOACT technology for shelf-stability and efficacy
  • Nine strains in total

8. Amen Mood Probiotic

  • 51 billion CFU
  • Includes ashwagandha and blueberries for mood support
  • 15 probiotic strains, including L. casei
  • Shelf-stable
  • Includes prebiotics

9. Natures Instincts Mood Spore Probiotic

  • Includes minerals
  • Specifically formulated to survive digestion
  • Includes lemon balm and ashwagandha
  • Formula has magnesium to influence neurotransmitter production and mood positively
  • Every bottle is DNA-verified

#

PRODUCT

Pros

Cons

Price

RATING

VIEW

1

InnoxicLabs Mood Probiotic

  • Specifically formulated for mood

  • Contains no allergens

  • Contains two strains that have been studied in seven clinical trials on humans

  • Only contains two strains

$0.33 per capsule

5/5

2

Lifted Naturals Mood Boosting Probiotic

  • Shelf-stable

  • Contains both pre- and probiotics

  • Includes 9 unique strains

  • Only 30 billion CFU

$.043 per capsule

5/5

3

Garden of Life Probiotics Mood+

  • Includes ashwagandha

  • Potency guarnateed through expiration

  • includes 16 probiotic strains

  • Some people might need to take it at night because it contains relaxing herbs

$0.41 per capsule

5/5

4

Life Extension Florassist

  • Life Extesnion is a well-respected brand known for quality

  • Includes 7 strains 

  • Uses dual encapsulation technology so it's resistant to stomach acid

  • More expensive than some other options

$0.78 per capsule

4.5/5

5

FRISKA Mood Boost

  • Includes L-theanine and lemon balm for relaxation

  • Has digestive enzymes

  • Only have to take one capsule

  • It's a propietary blend contaniing only three strains

$0.57 per capsule

4.5/5

6

Hyperbiotics Gut-Brain Balance

  • Time-released

  • 6 targeted strains

  • Designed to help bacteria actually colonize in GI system

  • Has a shorter expiration period than some others

$0.54 per capsule

4.5/5

7

Klaire Labs Mood Probiotic Powder

  • PROBIOACT technology to help them be most effective

  • Specifically formulated to support the gut-brain axis

  • 9 strain blend

  • Only 5 billion CFU

$1.53 per sachet

4/5

8

Amen Mood Probiotic

  • 51 billion CFU

  • Contains ashwagandha

  • 15 probiotic strains

  • You have to take 2 capsules at a time

$0.45 per capsule

4/5

9

Nature's Instincts Mood Spore Probiotic

  • Includes magnesium to support brain and mental health

  • Each bottle is DNA-certified

  • Formulated with a strain proven to make it through digestion

  • Only includes one strain

$0.22 per capsule

4/5

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, and they’re found in supplements, fermented foods, and yogurt. Helpful bacteria can destroy cells that cause diseases, help your body digest food and produce vitamins. If you take a probiotic supplement, the microorganisms it contains are the same or similar to what naturally lives in your body.

Probiotics most commonly found in supplements belong to one of two broad groups—Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Sometimes, other bacteria are used in probiotic formulations. Yeasts like Saccharomyces boulardii are also used.

Probiotics can help your body maintain a healthy, diverse gut microbiome, produce substances with beneficial effects, and they can influence your immune response.

Some of the health conditions probiotics can include:

  • Diarrhea associated with antibiotics
  • diff infections
  • Constipation
  • Diverticular disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Acne
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Urinary tract infections

Overall, probiotics are safe for most people to take and have a long history of safe use. Typically, if there are any risks associated with probiotics, it’s in people with very compromised immune systems or severe illnesses.

Probiotics and Mental Health

Probiotics have a significant effect on digestive health and your immune system. They are also increasingly shown to substantially impact the brain, mental health, and mood.

The gut and brain are connected via the gut-brain axis. There is signaling that goes back and forth between the enteric nervous system located in the digestive tract and the central nervous system, including the brain. The vagus nerve is the longest in the body and the connector between the gut and the brain.

The gut is often referred to as the second brain because it produces neurotransmitters as the brain does.

The gut produces dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which help regulate mood. It’s estimated that more than 90% of our total serotonin is in the gut.

If the brain senses that you’re in trouble, known as the fight-or-flight response, it sends signals to your gut. That effect is why many people experience digestive symptoms when anxious or upset. On the other side of that, if you have gastrointestinal conditions like IBS or IBD, it can also trigger mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Several studies have found that probiotics alone or combined with prebiotics may help with symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions.

In older people, daily supplementation with Bifidobacterium may help improve cognitive function, including attention and memory, and probiotics may generally help promote healthy aging.

In a study released at the end of 2022, researchers looked at the links between gut bacteria and depression.

Researchers identified various bacteria that could affect how people produce certain neurotransmitters, including the ones linked to depression, like glutamate.

How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplements for Mental Health

Choosing a probiotic supplement, in general, can feel overwhelming. There are many different options, each with a unique combination of microorganisms.

The following are factors to keep in mind when choosing the best probiotic supplements for mental health or gut health.

Species

There are so many species of beneficial bacteria, but the best ones for mental health are listed above in the chart. The most common species in probiotic supplements include:

  • These bacteria are primarily found in the small bowel. Probiotics with this species repopulate your small intestine and help with immune function and digestion. Lactobacillus acidophilus can support a healthy immune response in the gut, while L. rhamnosus helps with GABA expression. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel relaxed.
  • This species is found mainly in your colon, also known as your large intestine. These produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that helps your colon cells function correctly. Butyrate also helps with memory formation in the brain and plays a role in many metabolic processes. B. lactis and B. longum appear to be especially beneficial, and B. lactis can even help with weight loss or control.
  • This is yeast, and it helps promote the health of your intestinal lining.

Quality

Choosing a quality probiotic is extremely important, and survival is critical. Probiotics are delicate; they need to survive everything they go through to reach your intestines, where they can benefit you.

This is where CFU is important. CFU stands for colony-forming unit, which we’ll talk more about, but the higher the number in each capsule, the better to improve potency.

A high-quality probiotic should make it through the stomach acid and release the contents into the proper intestinal environment.

It’s Better to Be in the Billions

A probiotic can have anywhere from 5 to 100 billion CFU in most cases, which is a measure of potency. More is better.

Diverse Species

A diverse gut is a healthy one, so you want as much diversity in the strains in your probiotic as you can find.

Avoid Fillers and Binders

Ensure you carefully read all the ingredients on the label and avoid products with fillers and binders like lactose that could cause symptoms such as bloating.

Shelf Life

Look at the expiration date or manufacturing date when you choose a probiotic. There are a lot of quality shelf-stable products that don’t require refrigeration.

Final Thoughts

The best probiotics for mental health listed above all rank well in terms of quality. Probiotics could be an important part of shifting your mental health, as we’re increasingly finding out from research. As always, if you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider. 

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