Deep into the festive period now and six days to Christmas in this crazy pandemic year! What a year it has been, exceptionally good for some, exceptionally bad for some. For those that have done it tough, mental health issues have been prominent in issues mentioned as a consequence of this pandemic. If you’ve still got your health and your financial stability and securing, there are certainly chances that your mental state may have been compromised during the course of this year. Of course, this may still be the case into 2021, with ongoing uncertainty.

Mental health and mental wellbeing is prominent in today’s society, at least in Australia where I am located. It is openly seen as a key indicator of good health these days, along with the more traditional physical health metric. Of course, spiritual health comes into it too, but for now, let us focus on mental health.

While the health benefits of probiotics have been speculated/noted for an extremely long time, it has tended to focus on gut and digestive health. This is natural, because probiotics are administered and expected to exert their benefits in the gastrointestinal tract and, for the most part, become part of the host’s gut microbiome. While there are some probiotics that tend to be more transient in nature, such as Sachharomyces boulardii, many probiotics are administered for the purpose of restoring the host’s normal flora and hence restoring digestive health. Over the years, there has been a mind-boggling amount of research on probiotics, to the extent that some are skeptical of their benefits. Like anything, while it is certainly true that some people tend to ‘jump the gun’ and share or promote non-evidence-based therapeutics, there is mounting evidence in many different areas for the benefits of probiotics. One of these areas is mental health.

There’s no doubt that there is a relationship between food and mood, as backed up for the academic centre of that name at Deakin University in Melbourne. However, a resulting good mood goes beyond just eating so-called ‘comfort food’ that makes us feel better, or eating chocolate when we feel down or ‘blue’. There is actually scientific evidence for the benefits for the benefits of probiotics and the positive effects they can have on mental health. Remember that these probiotic foods may or may not be fermented. With the development of processing-stable probiotics, such as a specifically developed Bacillus coagulans sold by Kerry Ingredients, there are an increasing amount of non-fermented probiotic foods available today. These are foods where the probiotic component is really a food additive, untreated to the production of the food. They are incorporated during processing, typically earlier on, and able to withstand HTST (high temperature short time) pasteurisation and HPP (high pressure processing), which, in the case of a fermented food, would eliminate the starter culture.

Treat these few paragraphs as a bit of an introduction to this fascinating area and follow the link below to my blog article on this topic which was published on the TCLH website five days ago.