Last updated July 9, 2021 by Lisa Richards, CNC

Can Probiotics Help To Reduce Stress Levels?

Stress-free woman

If you’ve been suffering from Candida for a while, you’ve probably done lots of research into probiotics. These extraordinary bacteria live in your gut and play an important role in digestion, disease prevention, and much more. But did you know that they also have the power to alter your brain activity?

Few people realize how intimately the gut is linked to the brain. This has been termed ‘the gut-brain connection’.

The microorganisms in your gut have been shown to interact with the nervous system, influencing all the messages and actions sent from your brain around the body. Gut microbiota can affect the messages and chemicals associated with your body’s response to stress, anxiety and even memory function.

Improving this microbiota with probiotics has been shown to improve this interaction and reduce effects of anxiety, stress and depression.

That’s the conclusion reached by a team of researchers at UCLA. They published their findings earlier this year and they make very interesting reading. If you are not yet sure about how powerful probiotics and probiotic supplements can be, this will really open your eyes. Over the coming years, we are likely to hear much more about the gut-brain connection, and how imbalances in the microbiome can contribute to mental health conditions.

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Evidence That Probiotics Could Help With Anxiety

The UCLA study took a group of healthy women and divided them into three groups. One group received a portion of probiotic yogurt twice a day, another received a portion of milk twice a day, and the last group received neither yogurt nor milk. The study lasted for a total of 4 weeks.

The yogurt given to the first group was fermented with Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. There were no probiotic strains in the milk given to the second group.

At the end of the study, the researchers subjected each member of the study to an emotional task and measured their response. They found that those subjects who had taken the probiotic yogurt for four weeks had a significantly reduced response. In other words, the probiotics had a modulating effect on brain activity and enabled the participants to remain calmer. The researchers went on to suggest that probiotics could play “a role in modulating pain sensitivity, stress responsiveness, mood, or anxiety.”

Why is this significant? Well, this was the first human study to suggest what many previous researchers had found in rodent studies. An Irish study in 2011 found that mice who were fed probiotics had a lower physiological response to stress than mice who had not taken probiotics. They showed that the mice fed probiotics not only produced fewer stress hormones, but even had more anxiety-reducing receptors in their brains.

Probiotics And Your Candida Treatment

So are probiotics the answer to your chronic stress? Probably not. Although they may be some help, addressing the underlying cause of your stress is always going to be the best way to reduce it. But taking a good probiotic certainly isn’t going to hurt. And anything that reduces your stress levels is going to help you beat your Candida too, as stress is one of the factors that can cause a Candida overgrowth.

There are lots of other ways to reduce your stress, ease the pressure on your adrenal glands and HPA axis, and give your body the best chance to recover from a Candida infestation. Simple techniques like walking outside, meditating, and creating lists can all help to lower your stress levels.

As part of your Candida treatment, probiotics can do much more than modulate your stress levels. They will improve your digestion, strengthen your immune system, and lead the fightback against the Candida colonies in your gut. That’s why Dr. Eric Wood and I recommend them as a crucial part of our Ultimate Candida Diet program.

Where do you get these probiotics from? You can find some great probiotic supplements online or in your health food store. They can be expensive though, so if you’d rather save your money you can eat your own probiotic yogurt (like the subjects in that research study) or ferment your own kefir at home.

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  1. Pam says:

    Thank you, Lisa, for your up to date Candida information.
    I’ve had a few bouts with Candida over the years and honestly I recovered after intense dieting and increased awareness. Unfortunately, I’ve done it again. Your site is providing the support I need to start over again!

    My feelings of gratitude sent your way,


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