Yogurt as a Brain Food
Researchers found that the regular consumption of probiotic-containing yogurt showed altered activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. They concluded that the probiotics found in yogurt improve neuro signaling mechanisms and emotional behavior through apparently faster/better neurotransmission. Specifically, the study found greater connectivity between the periaqueductal grey matter of the midbrain and cognition-associated areas of the prefrontal cortex.
The study was lead by Kirsten Tillisch, MD and associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. This is an important study as it begins to show how the makeup of our gut microbiota . . . the bacteria in our flora ( the environment in our intestines) . . . can influence brain activity and behavior.
There is a potential to discover how milk product probiotics can be used to modulate behavior, improve motor skills, improve functions and speed of the nervous system, and help manage stress.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms or bacteria that are helpful in the digestion of food into nutrients. These bacteria are beneficial to our body. Combined these bacteria establish our intestinal environment or gut flora. The yogurt used in the study contained the typical yogurt probiotic lactic acid bacteria.
Probiotics enabling Glucose Production and Neurotransmission
Glucose is our body primary source of energy. Glucose is our brain's sole source of energy. Lactic acid bacteria play a role in breaking down complex carbohydrates into glucose. The lactic acid bacteria found in yogurt and raw milk break down the carbohydrate lactose found in milk and milk products and converts the lactose into glucose for our cells to convert to energy.
Raw milk contains probiotics naturally. Probiotics are added to fermented milk to help create yogurt. Raw milk is one of the most complete and nutritious foods available in nature and is an important source of glucose. See Raw Milk Nutrient Content. See also Raw Milk gives Athletes a Competitive Advantage
The study indicates that these milk and milk product probiotics also play a role in influencing our brains ability to process information and emotion through enhancing the neurotransmitter functions in our brain.