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Probiotics produce neurotransmitters

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This was a really interesting article, courtesy of EAMom on FB -


Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are known to produce GABA. Escherichia, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces produce norepinephrine. Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia, and Enterococcus produce serotonin. Bacillus and Serratia produce dopamine, and Lactobacillus species produce acetylcholine. That's pretty much the entire hit parade of major neurotransmitters (there's histamine and glutamate and a few others - and histamine is known to be produced by some bacteria that infect shellfish, for example, causing food poisoning).


The most interesting case here is GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system (it chills things out)--and there are whopping amounts made by the bacteria in fermented foods, and is also found in yogurt and typical probiotic capsules. GABA also turns out to be anti-inflammatory in the gut itself, decreasing the release of inflammatory cytokines. Thus there is a plausible mechanism by which certain probiotics could decrease inflammation and aid symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, and, considering the vagus nerve and all it's tendrils in the gut, have direct communication via the neurotransmitter GABA to the brain.


The full article is here http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201206/groovy-probiotics and the author has a number of interesting articles on similar topics. She has a really interesting article on the role of the Vagus nerve in helping the gut communicate with the brain.


What's interesting to me is that Saccharomyces produces norepinephrine. This stuff makes is in novocaine and makes me feel really speedy and agitated. So my DDS now uses a novacaine without it and it's way better. Wondering if this is one reason Sacc B makes my DS angry and aggressive. There's apparently an "ideal" ratio between probiotics and our LLMD feels we may sometimes have too much Lacto and not enough Bifido. Doing a stool test right now to test for yeast and fungus and one question will be - are we using the right blend of probiotics to have balanced flora.


Thanks EAMom!

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I will have to read the article- thanks LLM and EA!


I have been wondering about the possible unintended effects of probiotics, both negative and positive. Research seems to be bearing out that our gut flora can have a major impact on our overall health, and probiotics may be a powerful tool. Things that are so powerful tend to have the capability for both positive and negative effects.


I have started to give probiotics only during the times my kids are on antibiotics. We have been trying to pull back on all meds and supplements during the last two years... We really see no effect from the probiotics, negative or positive.

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I'll have to find it, but I've read either a paper or an abstract . . . honestly I think it was only an abstract via PubMed . . . about the benefits of Lactobillus GG (Culturelle) in fighting depression.


Like DCMom, we've been trying to cut back on supplements, etc., especially over the summer, and since DS is no longer taking abx, we thought we'd cut back on probiotics, as well. Did not work for him, however. It may have been coincidental, but he did display some anxiety ramp up after about 3 weeks off probiotics, olive leaf and taurine.


So we brought back Culturelle and sach b, one capsule each, once per day, as well as one daily capsule of olive leaf and one of taurine. All's well and cheery again! :) I know we should methodically eliminate one at a time at some point and really track the specific impacts, but living life doesn't always leave time for that! ;)

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I have been reading up about the gut so much recently. All of those neurotransmitters are used by the nerves that control our digestion (enteric nervous system). It is so fascinitng and mind boggling to think that our digestive tract is as sophisticated as our brains, and that is why there is so much cross-over between stomach problems and "psychiatic" problems.

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