top of page

The Potential of Psychobiotics in Managing IBS

Updated: Feb 15

If you are like me, you might be thinking, “ I know a bit about pro- and pre-biotics….but there’s another-biotic? Why are there so many kinds?”

Or maybe you can decipher that Psychobiotics sound as though they are related to the mind.

We wanted to write a blog about psychobiotics to clear up some myths and give some evidence as to why they might be beneficial for you.

While this may be the first time you hear about psychobiotics, it definitely won’t be the last time. We believe they will soon grow in popularity because of the amazing positive impact they could have on our gut and mental health.


a white model brain being held before a green background

First, what are they?

Psycho- comes from the Greek word psykho, which means "mental". (4)

-Biotic comes from the Greek word Biotikos, which means "pertaining to life". (5)

Psychobiotics are therefore a class of probiotics that produce and deliver substances that act on the brain-gut axis. (1)

One of these is called serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter and also acts as a hormone. It affects mood, sleep, pleasure, digestion, hunger, memory, and much more in the body. (2)

Actually, only 10% of Serotonin is produced in your brain, and 90% is found in the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract (or intestines).(2)

It is impressive to see how the foods we eat and digest directly affect body functions, especially in the brain!

It is important to remember that psychobiotics are LIVE organisms which live in certain foods we can eat or can be put into pills or liquids. When ingested, they can promote growth of helpful bacteria in the gut and therefore these positive effects on our mental states. (1)


How could Psychobiotics help me?

There have been valuable and reliable studies done on psychobiotics in relation to irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.

In many cases, stress is a big factor that can influence irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Stress has been shown to cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota, causing pain, bloating, and inflammation. (6)

Many experiencing clinical depression also have a similar imbalance of the gut microbiota. (6).

By improving mental states and reducing the amount of stress, many intestinal difficulties also improve themselves. (6)

One meta-analysis done by the MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute) suggested that more research should be done especially with larger groups of people before we can fully understand the impacts of psychobiotics. (6). They did conclude, after reviewing over 60 studies, that ‘appropriately selected probiotic therapy’, including the use of certain psychobiotics, can improve IBS symptoms in most patients. They can aid in reducing bloating and improving regular bowel rhythm. (6)


Are all Probiotics the same as Psychobiotics?

No, they are not all the same. Certain Probiotics have been shown to have more impacts on our mental states, thus they are classified as Psychobiotics. There are various strains that have been proven by multiple credible studies to aid in IBS.

They include:

  • Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 299V

  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175 and Lactobacillus helveticus R0052

  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175 and Lactobacillus paracasei HA-196

  • Lacticaseibacillus paracasei YIT 9029

  • Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305

  • Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001

  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624

  • Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis

  • Streptococcus thermophiles

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus NCIMB 30174

  • Lactobacillus plantarum NCIMB 30173

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus NCIMB 30175, and Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 30176.

All of these strains also proved to provide an improvement in symptoms of depression and/or anxiety disorders.


In Conclusion

To sum it up, our mental health is very connected to the health of our gut microbiome.

When guided by a professional, there are probiotics that can greatly enhance the health of both the brain and the gut, reducing symptoms of IBS and even depression.

There is much research to be done, but we would love to show you more of the ways to improve your gut and mental health.


Oxford Gastro Dietitians would love to help you with selecting pre and probiotics.

We have a probiotics reference guide to help you choose or you can book to have a consultation with us.

Feel free to book in for a FREE discovery call which you can book via our website.

Gut love to you all

Abby Torrie, Trainee Dietitian

Contents checked and supported by Cat & Rosie, Registered Dietitians and co-founders of Oxford Gastro Dietitians




Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page