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Gut Bacteria Affects Your Mood?

New studies suggest that probiotics do more than help you digest—they may also boost your mood.Audrey Anne Sukacz said she started enriching her diet with probiotics—foods that contain beneficial bacteria—in the hope that it would help curb her unpleasant bouts with irritable bowel syndrome. The change in diet, including foods like beet kvass, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha, did help settle her stomach. But Sukacz, 39, of Baltimore, Maryland, also experienced an unexpected side effect.“I noticed an elevated mood,” she says, “a general lift.”While such research is still in its infancy, studies support Sukacz’s anecdotal experience: Having a gut full of beneficial bacteria seems to promote the production of brain chemicals that ease feelings of anxiety and depression, while an abundance of harmful bacteria may actually trigger these symptoms.It’s suspected that bacteria are able to send messages to the brain through the vagus nerve, which links the gut to the mind.Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, says more research needs to be done to understand exa …

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