Can Yogurt Kill Anxiety?

probioticCould yogurt really be the answer to your anxiety problems?

A new study out this week showed that this is true for mice  and could be true for humans in the future.

Mice fed a probiotic broth were, in fact,  calmer than mice not given the probiotic broth.

The probiotic fed mice not only appeared calmer but their levels of stress hormone was also measurably lower.

This is important because it’s a well-known fact that there is a connection between your gut and brain that can affect your overall health.

In this regard, if you have problems with anxiety and depression then chances are that you might also have issues with diarrhea, ulcers, heartburn, or some other stomach ailment.

Researchers from Ireland’s University College Cork published a study that links a specific kind of bacteria, called Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1, to lower levels of stress and anxiety in mice.

Researcher John Cryan said that “Without overstating things, this does open up the concept that we could develop therapies that can treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut,” Cryan added. “You could take a yogurt with a probiotic in it instead of an antidepressant” (Choi, 2011).

Good news right? Well, not so fast. This research is in its early stages and still has to translate into similar results in humans, which at this point is not guaranteed to happen.

All that notwithstanding, this is still exciting. The bottom-line is that there maybe yet another natural way to overcome anxiety and I’m all for that.

What do you think? Too good to be true? Comment below.

NPR Interviews John Cryan Below



Choi, C. (2011). Probiotic Bacteria May Help Treat Depression. Retrieved from




  1. says

    Seeing as many things we consume do already influence our moods, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true. Tests on mice in previous cognitive experiments have also been successfully transferred to humans. I think in the end, hopefully, therapy via the gut will be a good solid complimentary aid to go with the more traditional CBT. After all, why not use all means available to fight anxiety? :)

  2. says

    Good point Stephen. Many experiments have been conducted with mice that eventually led to the creation of tons of human products. Hopefully we’ll get similar results with this.

  3. Bryan3000 says

    This is awesome, Paul. I love this kind of article… and looking into more pieces to fit into the “cure” puzzle.

    I’m 100% on board with the GI system being highly linked to anxiety. We all know and experience GI troubles when our physical symptoms are at their worst. But, we probably rarely reverse the equation and think about gut-health as a possible reason for biochemical malfunctions.

    As you know, Paul… many doctors call the gut “the other brain.” A huge percentage of our vital neurotransmitters are stored in our gut, including GABA. (Correct me if I’m wrong or off on any of this, Paul.) But, it only makes sense that such a vital system to our neurotransmitter health as the gut… would lend to healthier overall brain function if properly cared for.

    IBS is largely thought to be a pschosomatic disorder, from what I understand. I’ve struggled with it on and off throughout life, even pre-anxiety. I know many people do. But, I also know that some IBS sufferers find relief with probiotic supplements. So, this presents an interesting question. Are the people taking probiotics (with IBS) experiencing improvement solely because their guts are cleaned out, or is that proper gut functioning also influencing brain health… and hence increased mood and decreased physical symptoms?

    Personally, I think it’s all connected… and it can be different for each person. One person’s anxiety may be largely physical in nature or cause… and another person’s may be primarily mental, or mind-first.
    Of course, no matter what the cause… the techniques in dealing with the symptoms are similar in nature.

    But, we can’t rule out studies like this. Every little bit helps, and I find it encouraging to see these studies.

    Thanks Paul!

  4. Kenneth says

    This is great to hear. But link or not….we all know that yogurt is great for you and your digestion (unless you are lactose intolerant). I say go for it. I plan to get some tonight after work!

  5. Tracey says

    Seems like it takes a lot longer to get good studies on natural cures vs pharmaceuticals….why is that?? Oh yeah, there is a lot more money to be made in pharmaceuticals! I recently read that quercetin, another natural substance, can also be very helpful in relieving anxiety, depression and even pain. Quercetin helps calm your digestive system, which I guess in turn, calms your brain. It really is amazing how complex and interconnected our body systems are! Western medicine typically focuses on only one area (like your brain for anxiety), though, instead of looking at the whole person. I hope that our medical community will move more towards “integrated” medicine that combines both Eastern and Western approaches.

  6. james says

    I just hope doctors get off their arrogance, and start realizing that schizophrenia isnt the number one disorder, but OCD is… schizo = 1% of the population… ocd = 4-5% of the population… they should be testing right away for ocd, not asking questions like do you hear voices, and crap like that for schizophrenia…. let them stop being incompetant…

    never mind probiotic stuff, we need competant doctors…then when we can get a competant diagnosis, then probiotic stuff and natural therapies can help….

  7. Bryan3000 says

    You nailed it, Tracey. The problem is that there is so little money in alternative/integrated medicine… and there are so many scammers out there in the alt-med industry. But, I do believe there is a groundswell of interest in truly comprehensive health-care out there. It’s up to us common folks to keep pushing for what we want.

  8. anonymous says

    Interesting. I eat a cup of yogurt as my calm-down take-a-break from anxiety. Not that my anxiety has improved since this daily habit. :S

  9. says

    I couldn’t help smiling as I read this article. As someone who suffered from paruresis, where one feels anxious about using the toilet, a comical scene came into my head – someone bursting for a pee wallops down a pot of yoghurt to calm their nerves before heading to the loo.

    Interesting as I use to get quite a few mouth ulcers. I wonder if they too could be linked to anxiety?

  10. A G Maxwell says

    I’ve relaxed and enjoyed myself working in a crazy auto claims section while calming clients’ nerves, giving assurance, inducing a bovine serenity. In a desert climate my regular intake was yoghurt, picturing pasturing cows and listening to the accompaniment of soothing music in the middle of complaints, grievances and steam-offs.

  11. Pam says

    It is so strange that I found this site! I went off of my antidepressants a few months ago, and I felt SO MUCH BETTER!!! I had a hard time adjusting to the antidepressants, and it was like my body was saying THANK YOU for not taking them anymore.

    I have been anemic, and I recently started taking iron pills again because my hemoglobin levels were getting low again. On the third day of iron pills, I felt like I was losing my mind again, but I didn’t know why. The only thing that I could relate it to were the iron pills. I quit taking them and felt just fine by day two. Started to wonder if it’s stomach problems that have been causing me anxiety all these years and the iron pills aggravated the condition again.

    One day, the anxiety was creeping back in, and I just happened to sit down and eat some yogurt. I was shocked at how much better I felt within about 20 minutes or so. I thought, was it the yogurt that calmed me down? No way. So, the next time I was feeling those feelings again, I had a cup of yogurt again. It worked again!

    I have decided that I either have heartburn that must be wrecking havoc on my body or an ulcer and the yogurt somehow soothes it. ?? I don’t know what it is. I have now tried it four times, and it’s worked every time. So weird!

    I’m sure it’s not everyone’s answer to their anxiety/depression, but it sure seems to work for me. I hope others can find some relief as well!

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