Earn up to 14.5

CME credits!

Laboratory, Endocrine, & Neurotransmitter Symposium

October 4 - 6, 2019

Portland, OR

Approved for 4.25 Pharm CEs from the OBNM!

Gain additional clinical insight and treatment considerations to evaluate some of the most prevalent and challenging conditions that patients present with, including depression, anxiety, altered mental focus and stamina, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, addictions and dependencies, weight management, and chronic disease. Register today!


Wellness Wednesday

Webinar Series

A Spoonful of Sugar: The Impact of Blood Sugar Imbalance on Adrenal and Hormone Health

By: Krista Anderson-Ross ND

October 2, 2019

Join Labrix clinical staff and special guests on the first Wednesday of every month at 9:30 AM and 12:00 PM PST. This free, live webinar series will cover a variety of neuroendocrine topics that will enhance your knowledge, with clinically applicable testing and treatment considerations. 1 CE credit available from the OBNM.



Lynwood, WA:

October 12-13, 2019

Make sure to visit our booth at WANP in just a few weeks. Chat with our booth representative to learn what's new.



Portland, OR:

October 18-20, 2019

Ruth Hobson ND from Labrix will be speaking on Saturday, October 19 at the IWHIM Conference on the topic of "Mental, Emotional Aspects of Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women." Stop by our booth and learn more about testing with Doctor's Data and Labrix.


OANP MedTalk

Portland, OR:

October 22, 2019

Lylen Ferris ND from Labrix will be speaking on Tuesday, October 22 at NUNM for the monthly OANP MedTalk Series on the topic of "Childhood Stress can Affect Adult Disease." Attendees can attend live or via webinar.

Gut-Brain Axis: An Evolving Understanding of Depression and Anxiety


By Heather Hydzik, ND | October 1, 2019

A growing number of Americans suffer from anxiety and depression. The statistics are alarming: Anxiety disorders affect 18% of the US population each year, and globally, depression is the leading cause of disability. Less than half of US adults who have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are receiving treatment, as are only 65% of adults with depression. For some, therapy can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive, while medications sometimes have such unpleasant side effects that patients quit taking them. The stigma surrounding mental health conditions may prevent some from seeking treatment in the first place. There is a need for easy to access, effective, affordable treatments for these conditions.

A decade ago, evidence from rodent studies emerged, showing a connection between the gut microbiome and neural development, brain chemistry, emotion-driven behavior, and even reactions to stress. This led to human research revealing the existence of the gut-brain axis. Research involving the gut-brain axis over the past decade has uncovered a new understanding of mental health disorders. Via this route, probiotics, well-known for their utility in digestive health, are now being investigated for their potential to treat anxiety and depression.

So far, human research involving probiotics and mental health has shown promise. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 40 individuals with a depression diagnosis showed significant improvement in mood and depression scores with probiotic supplementation. Five out of seven human studies in a systemic review assessing probiotic effects on anxiety and stress found significant improvement. Cognition, often impaired during depression, also consistently showed improvement with probiotic treatment. These results seem encouraging, but how do probiotics alter mood?

There is bidirectional communication between the enteric nervous system and the central nervous system mostly via the vagus nerve, termed the gut-brain axis, linking intestinal function with cognitive and emotional function. Gut microbiota and the brain influence one another by signaling with neural, endocrine, immune and humoral connections. For example, bacteria in the gut are involved in the production of serotonin, which affects both gut motility and mood. 

Because probiotics contribute to balance in gut microflora and anxiety has been tied to an altered microbiome, researchers have found that improving the gut microbiome may treat anxiety. An analysis of 22 animal studies concluded that rodents given lactobacillus rhamnosus had significant reductions in anxiety-like behavior, especially those who were exposed to stress or who had inflammation in the intestines. The mechanism of action is postulated to be partially due to the effects that L. Rhamnosus had on both GABAA and GABAB receptors. GABA has a calming effect on the central nervous system (CNS) as it is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS.

Human studies have similarly found that consuming probiotic-containing fermented foods is negatively correlated with anxiety symptoms. Certain lactobacillus and lactococcus strains in fermented foods produce GABA. Eating these foods has been shown to increase GABA levels and improve nutrient absorption. Yogurts, cheeses, kimchi, sourdough bread, and pao cai (Sichuan pickled vegetables) all contained GABA-producing bacteria, but among these foods Pecorino cheeses had the best GABA-producing strains.

Beyond GABA production, probiotics have been shown to support mental health through multiple mechanisms of action. Pre-clinical studies have concluded that probiotic supplementation can improve mood, anxiety, and cognition in rodents by attenuating the HPA axis and altering neurotransmitter activity. A combination of lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium longum given to rodents resulted in reduced markers of chronic stress including ACTH, corticosterone, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which tends to be decreased during depression, increased after probiotic supplementation. This lactobacillus and bifidobacterium probiotic combination given to humans was found to improve somatization and reduce scores measuring anxiety, depression, and anger-hostility. Bifido infantis given to rats decreased both the precursor (tryptophan) and metabolite (5-HIAA) of serotonin. This action is similar to that of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of medications to treat anxiety and depression.

Clearly, probiotics have a great potential as a future adjunctive treatment option for anxiety and depression. Probiotics can attenuate the HPA axis, alter neurotransmitter balance, and even produce GABA, all at a low cost and without significant side effects. As a variety of different probiotic species and combinations have been studied, the question remains which species have the greatest anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect, and what is the proper dose and length of treatment to achieve those effects. More high-quality, well-designed human studies are needed before probiotics can become a standard recommendation for those looking to improve mental health. In the meantime, when mental health is a concern, why not improve gut health as a way to treat the whole patient?


For a comprehensive look at neurotransmitter balance and HPA axis function, Doctor's Data/Labrix offers the NeuroAdrenal Profile which includes neurotransmitters, diurnal cortisol and DHEA. This can pair well with the new GI360TM profile by Doctor’s Data, a powerful tool that profiles the microbiome and compares results to a published normobiotic reference population.



Ait‐Belgnaoui A. Colom V. Braniste L. Ramalho A. Marrot C. Cartier E. Houdeau V. Theodorou T. Tompkins. Probiotic gut effect prevents the chronic psychological stress‐induced brain activity abnormality in mice. Neurogastroenterology and motility. 30 December 2013 https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.12295 

Carabotti M, Scirocco A, Maselli MA, Severi C. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015;28(2):203–209.

Facts and Statistics. (2019) Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.

Ng QX, Peters C, Ho CYX, Lim DY, Yeo W. A meta-analysis of the use of probiotics to alleviate depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018 Mar(228): 13-19.

Reis DJ, Ilardi SS, & Punt SEW. The anxiolytic effect of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical and preclinical literature. PLoS One. 2018; 13(6): e0199041. Published online 2018 Jun 20. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199041 

Wallace CJK & Milev R. The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Annals of General Psychiatry volume 16, Article number: 14 (2017). 

Disclaimer: All information given about health conditions, treatment, products, and dosages are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.