- Kelin M
Best Probiotics for Mood Support for Women
Common side effects of aging, menopause, and pregnancy, and menstruation include mood changes: depression, anxiety, and mood fluctuations. You may also have mental health changes occur without warning.
These mood changes are linked to the levels of neutransmitters such as serotonin and GABA which can be increased by certain strains of bacteria!
The bacterial strains in question: Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175. These two are so well-researched they're known as "psychobiotics"!). They also reverse stress-induced gut discomfort!
Probiotic usage has been connected to an improvement in memory, depression, anxiety, stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Here are our top 3 picks for mental health probiotics. Keep reading to find out why we chose them and how to take them. To learn everything there is to know about probiotics and maintaining a healthy microbiome, read our guide.
Lifted Naturals: 9 strains with 30 billion CFU and 2 of the strains are our favorite "psychobiotic" strains- ideal for mood boosting.
Best Combination Formula
Garden of Life Mood+: contains our 2 favorite mood boosting probiotics plus a number of others, stress supporting herbs, and prebiotics.
Pure Power 100B: This contains a whopping 100 billion CFU of only 4 targeted strains, and one of them is the brain-friendly L. longum.
How We Choose a Mental Health Probiotic
As mentioned previously, there are some strains that have been studied extensively when it comes to mental health. It's important to look for Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum as these two are known as "psychobiotics" for their impact on mental health.
While a million might sound like a lot, in comparison with the trillions of microbiota in your body it's pretty insignificant. You'll want to choose a probiotic with colony forming units (CFU) in the billions. Most research is done with 10 Billion CFU or higher.
Some strains are more stable than others. For example, Lactobacillus has a lot of research behind it, but Bifidobacterium (while very common) is more delicate and it's not known whether it can survive the acid of the stomach.
For a supplement to survive long enough to populate the large intestine, you should look for encapsulation and delayed-release and check that it doesn't need refrigeration (if ordering by mail).
4. Other ingredients
The added ingredients should support mental health. It can be helpful to have added herbs and prebiotic fibers to feed the good bacteria, and minimal preservatives/other additives.
Our Top 3 Probiotics for Mood Support
Why we love it: This simple probiotic has 9 strains and 2 are the most effective "psychobiotic" strains. It also contains 231 mg of prebiotic fiber per capsule. For the price, 30 Billion CFU is a steal!
What we don't love: This isn't exactly a targeted solution- we don't know how much of this blend is L. helveticus and B. longum and it could be a small amount. However, with 30 billion CFU overall and excellent reviews, it's a safe bet that this will be effective at helping you feel "lifted".
Best Combination Formula
Garden of Life Mood+
Why we love it: This has the 2 most effective strains for mood support, as well as a number of other strains in decent volume. It also contains a stress support herbal blend as well as prebiotics.
What we don't love: Once again, Garden of Life is owned by Nestlé. This one also has a wide variety of strains that may not be very potent or effective on their own.
Power Probiotic 100B
Why we love it: 100 billion CFUs per capsule - enough said. This is a highly targeted probiotic that has 50 billion CFU of a blend including B. longum plus another 50 billion (B. lactis). It's also acid-resistant and doesn't require refrigeration.
What we don't love: The price tag! This is a lot to pay, and while it's potent, it's not always the case that more is better (it's far more important that the probiotic contains the correct strains for your needs).
How to Take Probiotics
Probiotics are ideally taken on an empty stomach. Either first thing in the morning or just before bed are great times to take your probiotic, as this will give it the best chance possible of surviving the stomach acid and populating the gut.
Follow the directions on the bottle and if you have a sensitive stomach (especially if there are added prebiotics or a high concentration) then it's a good idea to ease into it and take every other day.