The Skinny on Probiotics
Health for the soul:
Within your body are a multitude of organisms that are not your cells. By some recent estimates, we are about 1 to 1 in terms of the number of cells and number of other microbes inhabiting our human body. From a population perspective, what that means is that half of you is a microbe colony.
Most of these little organisms live inside your digestive tract, specifically your small and large intestine, and are responsible for a variety of key functions from digestion to regulating the immune system and even regulating your mood through neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and melatonin.
There is a growing body of research that links specific types of bacteria to particular health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory or chronic diseases. The impact of these little critters on your health is far and wide, and another important area is your mental health. With a majority of the serotonin being produced in the gut, and a growing connection being shown by research between the gut and the brain via the Vagus nerve, an unhealthy microbiome can be strongly correlated with depression, anxiety and other traditionally psychological concerns.