Bifidobacterium Adolescentis Strains Identified as GABA-Producers
Several mood-altering human neurotransmitters originate from microbes in the digestive tract. Now science is starting to dig into which bacterial strains are responsible. Around 80 percent of all B. adolescentis strains are capable of producing GABA with B. adolescentis PRL2019 and B. adolescentis HD17T2Hbeing particularly high producers, according to new research. These strains increased GABA production when tested in living models. Intriguingly, non-GABA producing B. adolescentis strains also caused increases in GABA production suggesting that they are capable of favorably impacting other species that can produce GABA.
What does GABA do? GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter that counteracts excitatory gluatamate activity in the brain. It supports calm relaxation, improved mood and better sleep. Many anti-anxiety drugs activate GABA pathways. Too much GABA, however, can cause daytime sleepiness.
Other natural sources of/support for GABA: green/black tea, cruciferous vegetables, soybean, adzuki beans, peas, tomato, spinach, mushrooms, buckwheat, oats, rice, sweet potato, valerian. Sprouting beans increases their GABA content. Magnesium supports GABA activity. You can also support healthy GABA levels through meditation and exercise.
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, received her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Counsel on Naturopathic Medicine-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, PhD. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)’s Textbook for Functional Medicine. With the Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Fitzgerald is actively engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention developed in her practice. The first publication from the study focuses on reversal of biological aging and was published 04-12-2021 in the journal Aging. She has published a consumer book titled Younger You as well as a companion cookbook, Better Broths and Healing Tonics and has an application-based Younger You Program, based on the study.
Dr. Fitzgerald is on the faculty at IFM, is an IFM Certified Practitioner and lectures globally on functional medicine. She runs a Functional Nutrition Residency program, and maintains a podcast series, New Frontiers in Functional Medicine and an active blog on her website, www.drkarafitzgerald.com. Her clinical practice is in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
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