Research says drinking kefir helps reduce depression. Drinking this probiotic daily produces positive mental health benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression.
Caroline Debnam, a participant in a case study conducted on Kefir grains and their impact on depression, had this to say about her experience:
“I tried all the different tablets for IBS that the doctor gave me – Buscopan and peppermint oil, etc. – but they didn’t work. Then I tried some of their Kefir, and lo and behold, it worked! I certainly noticed a difference in my mood and energy level. I felt a lot better. I do not have panic attacks anymore. I would recommend Kefir 100 percent.”
Her experience shows that Kefir can reduce the effects of depression among those who suffer from the problem. Moreover, scientific evidence indicates Kefir’s undoubtedly positive impact on the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Let’s dive deeper into the causes of depression and how kefir grains work to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression in human beings. But first, we’ll explore the history of Kefir grains.
What Are Kefir Grains?
Kefir is a colony of bacteria and yeast that ferments sugar-rich drinks and fills them with gut-friendly bacteria.
Within these grains, living bacteria and yeast are held together by a matrix of polysaccharides and proteins. Once ingested, the Kefir affects the gut in two ways:
- They add several species of bacteria that are beneficial to the body health.
- They reduce the organisms that cause diseases in the body.
The secret to the benefits of Kefir first came to light after Marco Polo visited the Russian tribesmen from the Black Caucasus Mountains and wrote about their well-guarded practice of using Kefir that gave them very healthy and long lives.
At the time, they made Kefir traditionally using goatskin bags. The kefir grains left the Mountains in the 1900s when the Russian Tsar ordered the grains as compensation for the prince kidnapping a lady. Today, the Kefir industry is worth billions of dollars globally.
The Connection Between The Gut And The Brain
It is not unusual to experience anxiety and depression every time you have a gut problem. Why? The gut has more than one hundred million nerve cells. As a result, a lot of communication happens between the brain and the gut.
Vagus, the longest nerve in the human body, creates a direct link between the brain and the small intestine. This connection is one reason the problems in the gut show up as issues in the brain and vice versa.
When the gut is healed, it will heal the brain too.
How do Kefir Grains Work To Reduce Depression
Studies have shown that certain bacteria can positively affect the physical health of human beings. Research has determined that the primary cause for your gut problem is often an imbalance in good/harmful bacteria in the gut.
Besides, some people may even have harmful bacteria like Helicobacter pylori ( aka H pylori) which cause nasty problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These bugs can also cause the symptoms of depression in patients with IBS.
In some cases, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can also cause anxiety or depression.
And to treat IBS/SIBO and similar conditions, the bacteria in the gut needed to be eliminated. But how does this affect depression and anxiety?
It was not until 2017 that the first vital study was conducted to determine which remedy has a more significant bacterial impact on the human gut bacteria. For instance, in a study on mice, the addition of certain bacteria led to an increase in immune function, memory and learning, and a stress reduction.
It worked because of the gut-brain connection. From this study, it was evident that the bacteria in the gut contribute significantly to biological processes. It was one of the crucial studies that proved the importance of probiotic treatments for many conditions.
More studies on the Probiotic’s power.
One study tested the effect of different species of probiotics on people’s moods. The study consisted of 20 people placed under controls. The study’s premise was that probiotics effectively reduced aggressive and repetitive thoughts, which in turn reduced the level of depression and sadness.
In another review, they found that probiotics reduced the levels of depression in both healthy individuals and those who suffer from depression. Although these tests did not specifically use Kefir, they tested with a smaller range of multi-strain probiotics. Kefir has more microbe strains than any other naturally occurring probiotics and thus is more effective than others.
Another study determined that Kefir has a more positive effect on gut bacteria than other fermented food.
They tested this premise on mice experiencing depression and anxiety following withdrawal from nicotine. The investigation showed that the administration of Kefir produced the highest anti-depression effects.
Kefir grains contain non-transient bacteria. A study by Dr Michael Mosley determined that these bacteria survive the human digestive process once it is ingested. And yet, it is potent enough to kill any disease-causing bacteria in the gut.
Once the kefir bacteria reach the small intestine, the strong acid it creates kills the disease-causing pathogens. In addition, it also helps improve serotonin levels, which helps decrease the levels of depression and anxiety.
In the nicotine experiment with the mice, the animals fed with Kefir proved to be more adventurous than the mice on anti-depressants. Another investigation aimed at determining the effects of Kefir on depression showed that the probiotics reduce the symptoms of depression massively.
Conclusion: The effects kefir has on depression.
The original meaning of the word Kefir in Turkish means “feel good.” As such, many people, traditionally and in modern science, consume Kefir to induce feel-good feelings. And due to the connection between the two, once the gut feels good, the brain feels good too. As a result, the consumption of Kefir grains has a positive impact on people with depression and anxiety.