Psychobiotics is a fairly new term in gut health, so we were PSYCHED to sit down with Barley+ collaborator and founder of the brand “Uplift Food” Kara Landau for a quick Q+A to learn more!
For those who don’t know you; tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Kara Landau aka “Travelling Dietitian” – an Aussie Accredited Practicing Dietitian and prebiotic lover based in NYC who just launched a new food and wellness brand Uplift Food in both Australia and the US this year. I am ridiculously passionate about all things related to adventures, the gut:brain connection, and healthy food product innovation.
Now tell us the story behind your exciting new brand Uplift Food.
Uplift Food – Good Mood Food is the world’s first dietitian created functional food brand to focus exclusively on the mood supportive benefits of gut healthy prebiotic fibers and resistant starches!
6 years ago I went through a big break-up and wanted to work out how I could use food as my tool to mentally feel at my best..all my research kept leading me to the vital importance of having a healthy gut, and it was from here that I wrote my first published book ‘The Clean Separation’. Years on, I continued to present this concept in the media as a nutritional expert in this field, and unsurprisingly, the science has continued to build on itself, so that I am no longer shouting this message from the rooftops on my own!
Uplift Food’s first product, the Daily Uplifter, offers a versatile and delicious allergen free vanilla powder that is bursting with a blend of mood supportive nutrients in significant levels, including natural plant based derived prebiotic fibers, resistant starches, mood specific probiotics, vitamin D and more.
For us regular folks, we are hearing a lot about the link of the gut and the brain and the term “psychobiotics”? Can you tell us about this and the link it has with our gut health ?
Psychobiotics is an emerging science that connects out gut health with our mental health; and with approximately 90% of our mood calming serotonin found within our gut, together with an actual direct connection between our gut and our brain that is able to send signals in a bi-directional manner – it only makes sense that we would need to nourish and nurture our gut in order to support our mental wellbeing!
Much or the research has been focused on probiotics as psychobiotics, and there have been some clinical studies using specific strains, that have been able to show positive outcomes on mood regulation. Interestingly though is that prebiotics, the fuel for the probiotics, are able to stimulate the release of serotonin in the gut, as well as via the by products of their fermentation, lead to the reduction in stress signals to our brain. Considering mental health conditions are starting to be understood as not merely a deficiency in certain hormones, but also a result of internal inflammation, it is starting to make sense as to why via both increased mood calming hormone production as well as reduced inflammatory pathways, psychobiotics can play a part in influencing our mood.
How promising do you think it is that we will see the use of psychobiotics as possible treatments for mental illnesses in the future?
I prefer to focus on the preventative and supportive role psychobiotics play in mood regulation, rather than trying to delve into them as a clinical treatment. I strongly believe that through positive gut healthy prebiotic food choices, we can support our mental health and feel more empowered to take on life’s challenges. Time and science will tell in due course the depth of influence psychobiotics are able to play – and if the past 6 years of my life are anything to go by, I predict there will be far more science uncovered in the coming year that supports this field.
Is there research that demonstrate the connection between psychobiotics and mental health (autism, mood, cognition, etc.…)? If so, what are the kinds of things being discussed?
One interesting study performed on healthy volunteers found that the mix of probiotics from Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum in specific doses were able to bring about improvements in mood, whilst another study on the prebiotic GOS also showed reduced anxiety and stress measures in the human subjects.
Lastly tell us one way you think we could be using Uplift Food with our Barley+ to create our own feel-good recipe?
There are so many ways I enjoy blending Barley+ and Uplift Food’s Daily Uplifter in recipes together! The most simple is to literally just sprinkle your Daily Uplifter over your Barley+ for breakfast with the milk of your choice, the vanilla hints that are added to the milk having it this way taste incredible! I also like to grind Barley+ down into a flour and blend it with the Daily Uplifter to create resistant starch and probiotic busting bliss balls, or whipped into protein prebiotic pancakes! The list is truly endless and the combination makes for a powerful gut loving, nourishing and satisfying mix.
You can purchase your Barley+ products here: bit.ly/BarleyPlusMuesli