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Psychobiotics and Their Impact On Neurological Disorders: Part II From Our Functional Medicine Toronto Clinic


In “Introduction to Psychobiotics: Part I,” our functional medicine Toronto clinic explained how some probiotic strains may have mental health benefits. These strains are known as psychobiotics, and they could play a significant role in modulating functions of the gut-brain axis and CNS (central nervous system). 

Though further human studies must be conducted, scientists have postulated that psychobiotics have the potential to change future mental health therapies. After all, “It is common to find both intestinal and mental disorders coexisting in the same individual. This suggests a strong connection between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract,” confirms a review from Nutrients

Psychobiotics can indirectly affect CNS biochemistry by producing metabolites, such as tryptophan and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs); these influence the immune system, endocrine pathways, and neural routes. They have been shown to have positive effects on mental health by modulating gut microbiota composition and producing various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, BDNF, dopamine, and GABA.

Here in Part II, we further discuss how exactly these probiotics may offer benefits to these neurological health conditions: Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, and anxiety. 

  • Parkinson’s disease (PD): Many studies have validated the promising effects of probiotics on PD models and patients. In clinical studies, probiotics have demonstrated improvements in some digestive issues, such as constipation and bloating, as well as abdominal pain, hypersensitivity, and oxidative stress markers in PD patients. These findings suggest that probiotics may have potential as an adjunct treatment for PD by improving gut function and alleviating some of the non-motor symptoms associated with the disease. Keep in mind that further research needs to determine the optimal strains, dosages, and treatment durations, as well as to understand the underlying mechanisms of probiotics’ effects on PD.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: Emerging evidence suggests that probiotics may improve the immune system of MS patients by altering the gut microbiome, suppressing inflammatory pathways, and regulating the immune system. 

In fact, studies have found that a probiotic mixture with L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, L. casei, and B. bifidum had positive effects on expanded disability status, inflammatory factors, insulin resistance markers, mental health, HDL, total HDL-cholesterol, and malondialdehyde levels, in MS patients after 12 weeks of treatment. Thus, probiotics could potentially act as a supplementary treatment for MS by modulating the immune function, reducing inflammation, and improving patients’ mood and metabolic conditions.

  • Depression and anxiety: As per some research, probiotics may have potential health benefits in managing depression and anxiety. Research has shown that specific probiotic strains may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety by regulating the gut-brain axis and altering the gut microbiota composition. Some studies have reported positive effects of probiotics on stress levels, memory, cognitive function, and overall well-being in patients with major depressive disorder and anxiety. 

But it’s important to note that not all studies have found significant improvements in mood and well-being using probiotics. Additional research is needed to further understand these mechanisms and to establish clear guidelines for their usage in clinical practice. Individual responses to probiotics may vary, and it is essential to consult your functional medicine practitioners before adding probiotics to your personal treatment plans. 

The future of probiotics and psychobiotics

The inclusion of fermented foods and the development of new functional foods with probiotics can contribute to improved mental health, especially for patients with MS, Parkinson’s, depression and anxiety. Evidence suggests that individuals who regularly consume probiotics and fermented foods may have a low prevalence of CNS disorders compared to those who do not consume probiotics. Therefore, probiotics and prebiotics can be considered as adjunct support for various diseases, when combined with lifestyle recommendations and other functional medicine therapies. Please contact our practice to learn about our clinical care.

Why contact the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre 

According to the functional medicine model, a patient’s wellness should be considered as a “whole” person. This means that different aspects of health must be pondered for treating the source of wellness concerns. For this reason, our personalized approach to health reflects on your comprehensive health history, genetic makeup, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors for building a comprehensive treatment plan.

Functional Medicine Testing is Available Here

To confirm your health status, we may recommend lab tests to verify nutritional deficiencies, your hormone balance, etc. If you’re concerned about food sensitivities, we may suggest an IgG food antibody test.

All of our treatments, including IV vitamin therapy drips, are in line with the core principles of integrative functional medicine. We can tailor treatment plans for different wellness concerns, including sexual health, brain health, digestive health issues, heart disease, autoimmune illness, chronic disease management, and more. Our healthcare providers collaborate with patients in designing personalized care plans related to wellness. We find that open discussions on healthy living and patient education can inspire people to stick to their health goals! 

Our functional medicine blends integrated health care so that you can discover other modalities for your optimal wellness; some of these include Western medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, bio-Identical hormone replacement therapy, naturopathic medicine, and herbal medicine. 

Revitalize your gut health through nutrition, disease prevention, and healthy lifestyle modifications! Our health coaching could provide new insights into your wellness. Click here to book your slot for functional medicine in our Toronto clinic.  

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.


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