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Stress may be affecting your digestion, but probiotics could help.

Stress may be affecting your digestion, but probiotics could help.

Though the body's natural response to stress – the telltale release of the hormone cortisol – does have its benefits, the damaging effects of this occurrence have undoubtedly eclipsed the good in recent years. Now, the chemical fight-or-flight reaction that has helped mankind act quickly and decisively in times of need has become a source of dread.

Indeed, excess exposure to stress can leave our bodies vulnerable to severe medical problems like high blood pressure – and could have a long-term impact on overall brain health. One lesser known effect of prolonged stress was documented in a 2006 article for the American Society for Investigative Pathology. According to the piece, which was written by University of Calgary Biology Professor Andre Buret, stress has been shown to induce "intestinal hypersensitivity," which can potentially exacerbate allergic reactions and inflammation within the gut.

Thankfully, a new study from the University of Michigan has revealed that probiotics – the good bacteria already known to promote gut health in general – may be able to reverse the effects of stress and keep it from aggravating existing intestinal disorders.

The UM researchers analyzed the impact of stress specifically on irritiable bowel syndrome and found that increased anxiety can prevent the production of an inflammasome that maintains a healthy bacteria level in the gut.

"The effect of stress could be protected with probiotics which reversed the inhibition of the inflammasome," gastroenterologist, associate professor and senior author Dr. Y. Kao said in a press release published by ScienceDaily.

Probiotics are well-known to address common intestinal issues by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in this area of the body. In addition, a new Chinese study featured on this blog revealed that curcumin supplements can also help with gastric problems associated with diabetes.

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