1. I try to remember to take a capsule everyday. I also gives the chewables to my kids. I use the “NOW” brand that I buy at a health food store. I’m always a little confused though, I believe they are supposed to be consumed on an empty stomach? So I try to give them to my kids first thing in the morning, I usually try to take mine in between meals sometime during the day since I always, ALWAYS have coffee with cream first thing in the morning. Priorities, people. 😉

    1. My probiotics don’t say to be consumed on an empty stomach. I’m not sure if you need to do that or not. I find that curious, since the best way to get them is in food. Let’s investigate and collaborate on our findings.

  2. I love love LOVE probiotics and have found them to be a tremendous aid in digestion and staying ‘regular’…….which now that I am in my 50’s is one of the great JOYS of life!!! lol I had not ever heard however about the possible benefits along the lines of treating depression, but this post is fascinating and very informative!! Thanks Sandy! WAY COOL. 🙂 Gonna share it~

  3. Thanks for the info Sandy! My 14 yr old daughter has been struggling with depression. I am going to try this for her. 🙂

    1. I give them to one of my children for the same reason. 🙂 So much safer than anti-depressants. Also, be sure she takes daily D3 and fish oil–also shown to have a huge impact on depression.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Sandi. It makes a lot of sense to me, given my history. When I had my second child, I suffered from PPD–kinda badly. Got that under control, but many years later, I suffered from diverticulitis, eventually ending up having surgery to have 18″ of my colon removed. REALLY bad. Since then (6 years ago), I have taken probiotic capsules regularly. Not only do I feel a whole lot better–better stomach, less gas (!), more energy–I haven’t had an ounce of depression. I have no idea if the two are connected, but your study here suggests they might be.

    I will say, though, that not all probiotics are the same. A carton of yogurt is not at all the same as a capsule of probiotic. You have to look at the billions of “good flora” that each item provides. You’d have to eat like 8-10 cartons of yogurt EVERY DAY to get as much good bacteria that is in one capsule. And my probiotic calls for two capsules a day. That’s a LOT of yogurt!

    Also, people should know that probiotics are live cultures and need to stay refrigerated in order to really be effective. Don’t buy a supplement that hasn’t been refrigerated and has specific directions to be stored in the refrigerator. They lose their effectiveness after a while if not kept cold.

    Hope this helps!

    1. That is one of the most fascinating things about this study—the participants ate yogurt (just yogurt!) twice a day! Didn’t even take the fancy-schmancy capsules. And they STILL had improvement! So, yeah…imagine how much better it could be (I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I’m just speculating here) if you took a really great probiotic or ate a diet rich in natural probiotics.

      I’m confused about the refrigeration part, though. I hear what you are saying, but I’ve gotten mine at Whole Foods in the supplement section. And the ones I have now are from Costco (also not refrigerated). But I’ve gotten lots of different things for my kids (kefir, chocolate, smoothie-drink-things) and they are all in the refrigerator section.

      Many of the naturally fermented food items are not refrigerated (that’s what causes the bacteria to grow in the first place).

      So, yeah…I need more info on this, for sure. I see a follow-up post in my future. 🙂

  5. Great information Sandy! I haven’t been on antidepressants but have used St. John’s wart. I am a teacher and find myself getting really overwhelmed juggling family and work and can get down. The probiotic route might be the option for me! thanks!

    1. Sami,

      Yes, give it a try! Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried SAM-e (instead of St. John’s Wort) but it has wonderful reviews across the board. My physician actually recommends it for depression. But I started taking it long before I saw her for the first time and saw results almost immediately.

      (Plus, it sounds just like your name. So, yeah…you should try it just so you can say, “My name is Sami and I take SAM-e.”)

  6. Wow, I hadn’t heard this about probiotics! I take a probiotic pill in the morning (when I remember), because I’ve heard of several other benefits (including helping boost the immune system). They really can do a lot!

  7. Probiotics are PHENOMENAL. They fight depression, help my stomach ailment, fight off infections and sickness, THEY DO EVERYTHING! I take them daily, without them I would be SCREWED – let me tell you! LOL

  8. This is a promising study. It’s a good thing I love yogurt. I’m currently taking omega-3 to keep depression at bay but I’ll add more probiotics in my diet.

  9. Hi Sandy, I usually enjoy your blog, but this post concerned me for a number of reasons.

    Whilst I take no issue with the UCLA study your article is based on, (and it is indeed published in a reputable journal), the use of the article to support your argument that probitoics are a “safer and more effective way” to treat depression is incredibly misleading. The article itself is one of the first of its kind, and was examining the effect of a probitoic on brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation, on 12 healthy women who were not depressed, via a brain response to an emotional faces attention task. The study was not examining the effectiveness of probitotics as a treatment for depression, and much more research (and of a different nature to this study) is needed before such conclusions can be drawn.

    I acknowledge that some people may have been helped by probitoics with regard to their depression. Some of these people may have had limited success with clinical treatments for depression only to see marked improvement when they started taking probitotics. I am not here to discredit alternative therapies, and I believe that any high quality research that can shed further light on depression should warrant our attention. That being said, when you advise people to “take a daily ‘dose’ of probiotics, especially if you suffer from depression or anxiety”, this sounds an awful lot like you are advising people to treat their depression with probiotics.

    Telling people how to treat serious illnesses is such dangerous territory, especially when you link your argument to the sale of a product (Shakeology) you will receive commission for, however small. I’m not implying that you would in any way attempt to deliberately mislead anyone for financial gain, but I also believe you would never forgive yourself if, after reading your post, someone then stopped taking their antidepressants in exchange for shakes that you benefit from financially and then ended up hurting themselves. I know you would never want that and there’s only a slim chance that would ever happen, but my main concern is that based on the manner information is presented in this post, it’s not that big of a stretch.

    I don’t expect to see a systematic review of all available evidence surrounding this issue on your blog, nor do I expect to see every post you write littered with disclaimers for every sentence. I do however expect to see the issue of depression approached with some caution and a sense of responsibility (given your influence) that I believe was missing from this post.

    1. Kim,

      Thank you for your concern and your thoughts. You raise some excellent points. As a writer of a blog (as opposed to a book with editors and publishers) I (and any blogger) can write whatever I want whenever I want and answer to no one. I try not to do that, though. I am sorry if it appears I’ve been irresponsible.

      I have written on the subject of depression more than just about any other and I’ve hit it from just about every angle. Every time I find an alternative treatment or lifestyle change that has been shown to help with depression, whether through clinical trials, preliminary studies or in my own personal experience, I am eager to share it.

      I would hope no one would flush their antidepressants for bags of Shakeology. I will add the necessary disclaimers.


      1. I want to add also, that I prior to writing this post, I had spoken with my own personal physician and a clinical psychologist, specifically regarding my care and the care of a close family member who suffers from depression and anxiety. In both cases, the use of probiotics were written into the official treatment plan (along with lifestyle and dietary recommendations).

  10. OK, I am amazed and so thankful to have stumbled upon this! I struggle daily with depression, anxiety, ptsd. I have been on two prescription anti-depressants: one caused severe migraines. Another helped minimally but seemed to contribute to weight gain–an issue I have always fought, and which adds to my depression when I am fighting and losing in that area.
    About 4 weeks ago, I started taking a daily probiotic supplement. I did it because my daughter has some gut issues that get noticeably worse when on an antibiotic. I have similar issues, and just thought taking probiotics preventatively might help us all avoid extra health bills in the case that we do have to have a prescription antibiotic.
    About the same time, I also began to take 1mg melatonin at night to help me sleep. (I have regular insomnia from the ptsd.) I noticed very shortly after starting both that my early morning depression and anxiety were much improved. And even as the days go on and stress builds, I am not getting anywhere near as crazy as I was just a month ago.
    I thought it was the melatonin. (Though some people report that melatonin can make depression worse–in a few cases it seems to help.) I had no idea it could be the probiotic. Or maybe it is both together. At any rate, I am thankful to find some positive support that maybe I’m doing something right!

    1. That is awesome, Rebecca! I hope you have continued success with managing your depression. I just recently tried melatonin, as well. And I loved it. I don’t need it every night, but the nights I’ve needed it, it has been so helpful.

  11. Whenever you hear about probiotics, all you hear about is yogurt. So it is good to see there are other foods besides that. But in addition to diet, there are also probiotic supplements.

    I’ve done a lot of research on probiotics, because I needed to find a way to stop recurring yeast infections. There is growing research, and studies, that show they can help fight it.

  12. Very informative post! You have rightly established the connection between the brain and the gut and the importance of probiotics to ensure good gut health which in turn paves way for the better general well-being and overall excellent health.

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