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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Can Probiotics Make Me Even Happier......?

Image of Ms Muffet from children's nursery rhyme
Ms Muffet and Her "Curds and Whey"-- a traditional fermented food...
Fermenting increases probiotic content of foods and drinks. This article talks about fermented foods and the advantages of the probiotics they produce. In mice, researchers are beginning to link probiotics to improved mood because of their effects on neurotransmitters. 

What Are Probiotics?Probiotics are a dietary supplement containing live bacteria or yeast that promote normal intestinal flora. Loosely translated the word means "for life." A word probably made by combining the Greek, "bios" meaning "life" with the Latin word "pro." The word first emerged in the 1950's. 

Kefir: An Ancient Use of Probiotics...Kefir is an ancient fermented drink made from goat or cow milk and is often associated with cultures that traveled from land to land, people to people. Fermented foods and drinks, such as kefir, produce beneficial probiotic strains. 

Probiotics Strains Improve Immunity... Probiotics are associated with improved immunity.  It is thought by some that nomads intuitively understood this. Using a probiotic rich drink such as Kefir would have  been useful in warding off non-native, bacterial infections to which these travelers would have been exposed. Probiotics and Improved Mood... Likewise, ancient travelers became aware that this ancient fermented beverage also made them feel happier.  Such a recognition makes sense to us. We understand good mood to be the result of a healthy small intestine or "gut". The lining of the gut -- referred to as intestinal flora -- when balanced with beneficial bacteria, creates the proper culture for producing the neurotransmitters associated with mood. Throughout history other cultures have fermented foods.  We infer they did this to stay healthy and feel happy.  It is said that the original German diet consisted of about one-third fermented foods. And even Little Miss Muffet had her curds and whey (a kind of cottage cheese often associated with the Scandinavian countries).

Probiotics Are a Way to "Compost" the Gut...Fermented foods create healthy probiotic bacteria in the intestinal tract. Much like composted foodstuff can balance and strengthen depleted soil; the beneficial probiotic content of fermented foods can improve the balance, immune response and productivity of a depleted gut. 

Fermenting can also increase the vitamin, amino acid, fatty acid and protein content of food or drinks as well as eliminate the anti-nutritional components.1

A Healthy Gut Leads to a Healthy Mind...As modern science takes this ancient wisdom into the laboratory, there emerges the possibility of cultivating specific combinations of probiotic bacterial strains in the gut to improve the creation of specific neurotransmitters associated with a better functioning mind. The bacterial strains can be created through fermentation and then concentrated into probiotic capsules and taken orally.

In Laboratory Mice, Researchers Are Starting to Link Good Probiotic Bacteria in the Gut to a Better Functioning Mind...Professor Mark Lyte and associates at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center are involved in this emerging research.  In research with laboratory mice, they say they have been able to show the link between certain probiotic strains of bacteria and the key neurotransmitters GABA, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine and Acetylcholine.  

These key neurotransmitters are associated with mood and mind function. Our understanding of the role of these neurotransmitters in mood is as follows: Gaba puts us in a state of relaxation; Serotonin, well being; Norepinephrine puts us in fight/flight mode; Dopamine motivates us to take action or seek pleasure and Acetylcholine puts us in a state of attention.

The researchers feel they have succeeded in linking together which combinations of bacterial strains produce which of these neurotransmitters. Read more at:

McMasters University Brain-Body Institute in Canada was also involved in a recent study with mice that made a connection between the probiotic strain L. Rhamnosus JB-1 and an increase in GABA (calmness, relaxation) in the brain.  

More on that study can be found here: Mind-altering microbes: Probiotic bacteria may lessen anxiety and depression --from Science Daily.

Additional research in this area and the funding for it should become a high priority, since it would be a tremendous help in working with the modern epidemic of mood disorders. While such research does not produce profitable, patented drugs, it leads the way to re-discovering the potency of using common foods medicinally.  And guess what, now we  have to analyze our  gut microbiome using a process called metatranscriptomics.  They specify foods and supplements to change our gut microbes and we have experienced great results.


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Contemporary Healers Have Advocated Fermentation and Probiotics for Ages....Individuals who have overcome personal health problems and by doing so, have led the way for others, have known about the benefits of fermentation for decades.  The late, great visionary, Ann Wigmore, who healed herself of numerous afflictions during her lifetime, is one example.

She learned healing from her grandmother as they worked with wounded soldiers in their war-torn eastern European village. Drawing from her personal successes, Ann Wigmore was a lifelong advocate of sprouted and fermented foods.  In more modern times, people such as Donna Gates of, have been quietly preaching the benefits of fermented foods for a very long time.

Dietitian Dr. Liz Lipski, CCN, CHN is also worth mentioning. She has been working in the field of nutrition for over 30 years.  She is the author of Digestive Wellnessir and Digestive Wellness for Childrenir.

She is considered an expert in her field. She believes from her years of healing work that digestive balance and mental well-being go hand in hand.


A List of Fermented Beverages/Foods and Fermenting Products Useful for Producing Beneficial Bacteria: There are a wide range of beneficial fermented foods and drinks available to everyday consumers that can be prepared at home or purchased ready-made.  We list some here. We have used most of them ourselves, or we are aware of the reputation of the product-makers who produce them.  We find that  probiotic foods and beverages work best when made with organic, raw, non-GMO ingredients. Foods made from these ingredients are also the best value cost wise.

  • Kefir Starter -  -- A unique blend of probiotic kefir starter by renowned authority, Donna Gates.

  • Dong Quai, CocoBiotic - Body Ecology -- Ready-to-drink probiotic beverages also by Donna Gates.

These grains require a little more attention and preparation that the fast, easy, dried kefir grains.  We do experience a very powerful kefir from them! --  A review and directions on how we use them can be found at "Living Kefir Grains..."

  • Kombucha (homemade or raw, such as GT's)
  • Probiotic Strains That Can be Taken Directly as a Supplement:
  • Garden of Life Raw Probiotics

  • ReNew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care Probiotics

Related Articles:

The Brain-Gut Revolution...Are You Hip?

 Making Fermented Drinks at Home

Promoting Probiotics Again? Enough of That Already... -- How the Inner And Outer Ecological Systems are Connected...

Have You Soaked Your Nuts Today?

Little Ms. Muffet -- a Reminder

Related Products:

Dong Quai


-- Two specially formulated probiotic drinks from world-renowned expert, Donna Gates, at

Note: The above is only our opinion based on what we have discovered from our experience and research. It is not connected in any way to the official view of persons, product-makers, service providers or advertisers cited in the article or appearing elsewhere on this website.  It is not medical advice. Our intention here is to do no harm. You should consult directly with a medical professional for any health problems you may have.

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Catherine said...

You had a good info about probiotics here. I've been doing some research on how and what probiotics should I take. I also seen this Dr. Mercola's probiotics and I found so many good reviews about it. Do you think his probiotics is really good? Please check his probiotics

Jutten said...

Hi Catherine, thanks a lot you for your comment.

We currently use Dr. Mercola’s Miracle Whey and Chlorella.

We do not have experience with his probiotics, but based on our experience with both the chlorella and the whey, we would highly recommend trying his products.

Also be aware that we write only from personal experience and do not give medical advice. We have no relationship with Dr. Mercola, but from frequent visits to his website, we think he’s a top-notch expert.

We like the link you provide in your comment to a video by Dr. Mercola on probiotics. We encourage readers to watch it.

Thanks for providing it and best to you!