why i take probiotics for postpartum depression

The Concrete Runner - Just Thrive Campaign

**Disclosure:  I received Just Thrive as part of my partnership with Team Inspire.  All opinions are my own.**

My first experience with probiotics was about 8 years ago, when I really started to get serious about running and nutrition.  I had just transitioned to a vegetarian lifestyle and at the time was training for my first full marathon.  Let’s just say my stomach was in constant turmoil.  So, I decided to try out some probiotic yogurt, thinking that my GI issues would calm down a bit.  Ha!  If spending hours in the bathroom (while at work) is a calm GI tract, then I was just not going to use probiotics.

But, I’ve been learning more and more about probiotics in the past few months.  I really want Matt to start taking them because he has been dealing with lots of weird GI and other issues.  For example, we recently discovered that he has food-induced migraines when he eats peanuts and tree nuts.  Even if it’s PROCESSED in the same facility, he ends up feeling (in his words), “drunk and hungover at the same time.”  He’s also been dealing with severe heartburn for weeks now, so I’ve been trying to convince him to give probiotics a try.  But, as the good wife that I am, I decided maybe I should research and serve as a guinea pig first.

One reason why I was really interested in starting probiotics is their ability to help with depression.  Those of you who have been reading for awhile know that I was diagnosed with postpartum depression about a year ago (July 31 to be exact).  Those 6 months were some of the hardest I’ve ever gone through and I’ve seen a massive turn around in my mood over the past year.  However, that hasn’t come with some setbacks over the past year.  There have been multiple times where I’ve really felt like I needed something more or a higher dosage.  I already have decided that I will most likely be taking antidepressants for the rest of my life, but I would LIKE to stay on as little dosage as possible.

So, why probiotics for depression?  Did you know that your emotional state can be a sign of intestinal imbalance?  The majority of the serotonin – a neurotransmitter that sends messages within the brain – is actually produced in the intestine.  So, if you are feeling a little emotionally distressed, it could be because of your gut health.

As someone who has not only dealt with depression most of my life (not just in the past year since I’ve been diagnosed) but with a range of gastrointestinal issues, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to start making probiotics a part of my daily routine.  In addition, I also have polyp-producing allergies (for which I have had surgery on in the past) and probiotics are also known for helping prevent undesired immune responses (like allergies).  

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I’ve been taking Just Thrive for about 2 weeks now and have definitely noticed a difference in the way I feel.I typically get sick within the first 2 weeks of school but have yet to deal with anything more than a sore throat from having to yell all day long (because our gym has terrible acoustics).  I can also see the difference in my reaction to stress – I’m feeling much more at ease at the beginning of the school year, and actually feeling MUCH more productive, despite the fact that I have a lot more responsibility this year, with teaching, coaching, and running my own business on the side.  I’m also a team leader and mentor, which adds to the stress, but I’ve remained unusually calm these first few weeks of school.  While I’m still definitely exhausted, I feel much more alert throughout the day and have not had my 1 PM Slump like I usually do.

I highly suggest researching how probiotics can benefit YOUR health and what it can do to make you a healthier person!  Matt just started taking them about a week ago and I think he has also noticed a difference in his GI health.  I am VERY happy with Just Thrive – and 100% of the healthy bacteria in Just Thrive have been proven to survive in the gut before and after digestion.  And, it’s the only probiotic on the market that has been shown to do that!  I will definitely continue using Just Thrive as part of my morning routine and am looking forward to seeing how it helps my mental health throughout the school year!