Did you know 75-90% of the body’s serotonin is in the intestines, NOT in the brain? Yet prescription antidepressants only raise serotonin levels in the brain and are often ineffective for treating depression. Perhaps it is time to consider a simpler solution, one without a long list of serious side effects.

Groundbreaking research has shown a common strain of probiotic can create GABA within the gut while also enhancing brain receptors for this neurotransmitter. Naturally produced GABA is a safe alternative to dangerous psychiatric drugs – it calms the nervous system, promotes tranquil sleep, minimizes anxiety and alleviates depression.

The Sunny Side of Probiotics

According to Natural News, a common bacterium may serve as a safe, natural and economical solution for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Canadian neuroscientist Jane Foster found the micro flora of the gut have a significant connection with the central nervous system. “The cross talk between the gut biome and the brain is continual. That’s the important take-home message. These are not two separate systems; they are two parts of a single system,” says Foster in the Psychology Today article “Your Back-up Brain.”

John Cryan of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Ireland took this idea further by studying how lactobacillus bacteria in the gut specifically influence the brain. Cryan discovered lactobacillus actually alters the brain-cell receptors for GABA in a positive manner, thereby reducing anxious behavior. The bacteria not only create more GABA receptors, but also produce the neurotransmitter itself which then circulates in the blood. All of this has a profound impact on emotional balance and the nervous system. As observed by Emily Deans, MD, “GABA is a nice glass of wine in front of the fire. GABA is restful sleep. GABA is tranquility and yoga.” Because patients with anxiety and depression also frequently suffer from digestive disorders, researchers theorize a probiotic deficiency may be linked to mood.

It’s easy to cultivate a healthy dose of this calming neurotransmitter by traveling no further than the refrigerator. Simply enjoy foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi or sauerkraut.

The Joy of Sauerkraut

While this research is exciting news, science is catching up with the personal experience of many, including me. Therapeutic dietary approaches, such as the GAPS Diet, focus exclusively on gut health (of which fermented foods play a central role) in order to reverse psychological and digestive diseases with noteworthy success. Of all probiotic foods, I have the greatest success naturally elevating my mood by eating homemade, naturally lacto-fermented sauerkraut on a daily basis. With a small investment in the right equipment, lacto-fermented sauerkraut is easy to make safely and consistently and is a low cost food with a high return on health benefits. Learn how to make sauerkraut for you and your family with Prozac Food: Making Foolproof Traditional German Sauerkraut for complete instructions.

Please enjoy my personal recipe for great-tasting traditional German sauerkraut.