Limitations of the study

The biggest limitation of this study was its small sample size.

“This particular study was quite small, with only 25 participants in each arm. Furthermore, all participants received antidepressants, in addition to probiotics. It is not known whether the findings would hold up in a larger study or whether probiotics would have a positive effect in the absence of an antidepressant,” said Dr. Lerner.

Additionally, not all probiotics are the same.

“Different species and strains are likely to impact the body in different ways,” he said.

“There are studies that should change how we treat patients, and there are studies that should prompt further research. This is one of those studies that should prompt further research. In short, people [with] depression should be encouraged to seek professional help and not to self-treat with probiotics,” Dr. Lerner stressed.

Good food sources of probiotics 

There are numerous probiotic-rich foods that people can incorporate into their diets to aid better gut health.

“I favor foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and kefir. Good sources of prebiotics (high-fiber foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria) include whole grains, apples, bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, and artichokes,” Dr. Lerner said.

Costa, meanwhile, suggested the following foods to increase probiotic intake:

Yogurt: Yogurts are one of the most popular probiotic sources in dairy and non-dairy varieties. Widely available commercially, yogurt is an easy and convenient way to add probiotics to your diet.

Other dairy foods: Cultured buttermilk, cheese, and other fermented dairy products such as kefir are also common sources of probiotics.

Non-dairy foods: Excellent non-dairy options include probiotic-rich foods like miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, and pickles. You may also find probiotic strains in fermented cereals, legumes, maize, pearl millet, and sorghum.

Kombucha is a popular probiotic-rich drink made from tea that has been fermented with yeast and bacteria. Other non-dairy fermented drinks, such as coconut kefir, are also becoming more widely available.