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Chances are, we all know someone who has had their life affected by depression and anxiety; and we have all experienced these feelings on some level. What if the key to unlocking these problems lied within every one of us -- inside of our gut? The research topic being explored is the relationship between gut health and mood disorders. The question of interest is: Does the use of probiotic supplementation have an effect on feelings of depression?

Connection between gut health and mental health is significant as approximately 6.7% of adults in the U.S. suffer from major depressive disorder. There has been an observed association between gut health disorders and mood disorders, mainly anxiety and depression. Those who demonstrate anxiety and depression have an increased likelihood of developing abnormal gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. This raises the possibility of bi-directionality between the brain and the gut, meaning that GI health may have an effect on mental health and vice versa.

This relationship is important to explore. Probiotics, bacteria that are beneficial to the body, have grown in popularity as a gut health supplement which may have an affect on the brain. There is much reason to suspect and explore the relationship between probiotic supplements and depression.



Faculty Advisor

Patricia Harris, PhD, RN

Publication Date



San Rafael, CA


Probiotics, Mood Disorders, Gut Health


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Mental and Social Health

Flowers or Flora?: Understanding the Effects of Probiotics on Depression