I want to share two great resources. First, Dr. Emily Deans has a fun and fermentation-inspiring article in Psychology Today: Groovy Probiotics. Chris Kresser’s recent podcast is a great complement and gives more detail regarding neurotransmitters and the gut: The Gut as the Second Brain.
I harvested my sauerkraut yesterday, and based on the latest I am learning about fermentation, I have another ten weeks to wait while it ferments in the fridge – darn! I will almost certainly break into it this week because I am craving it, so I am starting another batch today.
Unfortunately, I let my kombucha go too long (harvested this morning) and ended up with vinegar, so I am largely without fermented products and craving them hard.
Today I reintroduced kefir into Ryan’s and my breakfast routine, as all the meat Ryan was eating for breakfast (thanks to his egg allergy) was getting old and stressing our finances. After learning from Emily and Chris, I know that kefir will help with GABA production, which is caused by Lactobacilli, which is loaded in my kefir. Thanks to Dr. Deans, I am all about the GABA for its chill effects, which should help me to sleep even better:
The most interesting case here is GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system (it chills things out)--and there are whopping amounts made by the bacteria in fermented foods, and is also found in yogurt and typical probiotic capsules. GABA also turns out to be anti-inflammatory in the gut itself, decreasing the release of inflammatory cytokines. Thus there is a plausible mechanism by which certain probiotics could decrease inflammation and aid symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, and, considering the vagus nerve and all it's tendrils in the gut, have direct communication via the neurotransmitter GABA to the brain.