Researchers from UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine have concluded that probiotics can change the brain activity and emotional responses of women. The researchers at UCLA divided 36 women into 3 groups. Each group was given either fermented milk with probiotics, milk without probiotics, or no milk at all. MRI scans were performed prior to the study and again after 4-weeks of placebo or probiotic milk.
“After the four weeks, those women who drank the probiotic milk had significantly different brain activity changes. Their task-related responses increased, and their activity within the sensory cortex regions changed, which was dramatically illustrated during rest periods. Their midbrain connectivity increased, which the researchers concluded probably explained their task-related response increases.
Their altered brain activity also illustrated changes in the brain signaling pathways for emotional responses among the women.
The probiotics in the fermented milk included Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. Each of these species has been shown in other clinical studies to improve health among other organs and tissue regions of the body.
Research has also connected the gut’s probiotics to the brain via a conduit between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system is located in the abdominal region around the digestive tract. Many of our neurotransmitters are produced in this region and the neurons relay mind-body responses between the gut and the brain stem.” (Adams 2013)
So I guess it’s true what they say; your gut really is your second brain.