How Probiotics Can Help Improve Memory Loss

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 47 million people live with dementia and memory loss. It’s a very difficult condition to cope with, especially when one can see the effects taking its toll on a loved one.

While there is currently no cure for dementia, research indicates that probiotics, sometimes referred to as good bacteria, may help improve memory. The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility reports the results of 11 animal studies testing cognitive function and all showed probiotics to be beneficial for memory performance. "Translations of animal studies to human studies may be applicable," according to the Journal.

If you or a loved one has Alzheimer's disease or other conditions that cause dementia, you may want to consider probiotics to help boost mood and cognitive functioning.

Gut Bacteria 101

There are around 40 trillion bacteria in each person's body, most of which are in the intestines. All together, they are known as gut microbiota, and are very important to each person's overall health. There are 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in the intestines. The food we eat greatly impacts the types of bacteria found in our bodies. 

To maintain good bacteria, it is best to eat a diverse range of foods, fruits and vegetables, fermented foods and whole grains to achieve optimal gut health. Individuals may also want to consider taking probiotics. Although the use of probiotics in healthy people is questionable, evidence does suggest they offer health benefits to those who are sick, according to healthline

A disrupted microbiota can result in numerous chronic diseases so maintaining healthy gut bacteria is critical. 

Powerful Ways Probiotics Help the Brain

According to Harvard, probiotics can do more than improve gut health; they can also possibly enhance cognitive functioning. Research shows the gut and brain are connected. What affects the gut often impacts the brain and vice versa. When the brain senses trouble, it sends a warning to the gut, which is why stressful situtions can cause digestive problems like an upset stomach. Similarly, gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Chron's disease may trigger anxiety or depression in the brain.

"Some research has found that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety," according to the Harvard article, "Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function."

Ways to Improve Good Gut Bacteria 

  • Eat a Variety of Foods
    There are many delicious foods you may already have in your kitchen that you can ingest to get natural probiotics. Eating a diverse diet rich in whole foods can lead to diverse gut bacteria, which has many potential health benefits.

    Consider Fruits, Vegetables & Fermented Foods
    Fruits and vegetabels are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy gut. Try incorporating fermented foods that have low amounts of sugar and contain live bacterial cultures.


  • Take Probiotic Supplements

    8 Benefits of Probiotics, according to Healthline, include: 

    1. Help Balance the Good Bacteria in the Digestive System

    2. Help Prevent and Treat Diarrhea

    3. Improve Some Mental Health Conditions 

    4. Help With Heart Health

      May Reduce the Severity of Certain Allergies and Eczema

      Reduce the Symptoms of Certain Digestive Disorders

      Boost the Immune System

      Help With Weight Loss and Belly Fat

      Physicians have already seen firsthand the benefits of probiotics. Internal Medicine and Geriatric Physician Anna Lamnari, MD, reported on Sixty and Me that she saw improvement in her female patient at a nursing home after being given probiotics. "[My patient's] dementia was at the stage where she did not recognize anybody and stopped talking. Imagine my surprise and delight, when after a course of probiotics I ordered for a bout of diarrhea, she started talking again and recognized her husband," says Dr. Lamnari.

Some probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid before they reach the gut, meaning people do not receive any of the intended benefits. That is why it is important to talk to a health care professional about probiotics and gut health.