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Megabiotics: Experimental Treatment for Social Anxiety / Social Phobia

This is a treatment for social anxiety disorder that works for me. It may not work for
everyone - or even anyone - but compared to the nightmare existence of social phobia
it may be worth others trying it. That is why I have produced this document.

The treatment itself is unusual, and well beyond the fringes of current scientific
knowledge. It involves very high doses of a specific probiotic.
The Mind / Gut Connection

One of the emerging areas of scientific research is the relationship between the gut
and the brain. The most successful methods of affecting the gut is via altering the gut
flora. The gut flora is the collection of mainly bacteria and yeasts that coat the gut, the
good ones helping amongst other tasks in digesting food, and warding off infections.

The “bad” bacteria and yeasts that are present in the gut do not help the body at all,
but they are kept in check by the “good” bacteria. However, the numbers of bad
bacteria can grow alarmingly when, in particular, antibiotics have been taken.

There are some “bad” bacteria that inhabit the gut that can produce toxins, in
particular Clostridia. Interestingly, studies on the gut flora of children with autism
have found a high number of clostridia bacteria present.

Probiotics and Mood

Probiotics (and prebiotics – the food for


probiotic bacteria) remain the best
methods for increasing the number of good
bacteria in the gut. In general, virtually all
the scientific studies on probiotics have
involved people with digestive illnesses.
But there have been a few studies which
are interesting in relation to the Gut –
Brain connection.

In the first study, the probiotic


Lactobacillus Casei Shirota, commonly
known as Yakult, was given to chronic
fatigue syndrome sufferers for two months.
This was associated with a statistically
significant decrease in anxiety symptoms.

The authors of that study are quoted in the


journal Gut Pathogens as saying: “These results lend further support to the presence
of a gut-brain interface, one that may be mediated by microbes that reside or pass
through the intestinal tract.” i

Another study involved giving an (unnamed) probiotic for three weeks to 124 people,
to see the effect on constipation and mood. The subjects who were constipated tended
to have poor mood. The conclusion of this study again demonstrated a brain/gut
connection: “The consumption of a probiotic-containing yoghurt improved the mood
of those whose mood was initially poor.”ii
A couple of studies in lab animals are also relevant to the brain/gut connection. A
study in rats of the probiotic Bifidobacteria infantis, provided “encouraging evidence
in support of the proposition that this probiotic may possess antidepressant
properties.”iii Another rat study found that “antibiotic therapy produced substantial
changes in the microbiota [gut flora]” and that “oral, but not systemic antibiotic
treatment, produced changes in brain chemistry and an increase in anxiety-like
behaviour”iv

A trial of a probiotic multivitamin for 6 months on 42 subjects found “at the end of
the study, an overall 40.7% improvement in stress was noted” v

Meanwhile, a patent application for Lactobacillus salivarius for treating depression


sites the following case of the effect of this probiotic bacteria:

“Patient 1 was a 36 year old man with a 6 week history of depression. He had
previously been depressed 4 years ago. He complained of low mood, anhedonia,
early morning wakening, anorexia, loss of 2 kg weight, significant anxiety and
negative thoughts about the future. He had a Hamilton depression score of 23.

He had a strong family history of mood disorder. He was medication free at the time
of presentation. He was given bifidobacteria in a milk suspension which he took daily
for 12 weeks. At the end of week 2 there was a significant improvement in his mental
state and by week 3 he was free of symptoms with a Hamilton score of 4.” vi

Overall thought, very little research has gone into probiotics and mental health.

What about Life Events?

A very recent experiment was conducted with a group of broiler chicks being exposed
to unpleasant physical treatment, with a control group being treated normally. The
experiment found that unpleasant treatment “negatively affected bacterial metabolic
end products in the caecum”. No bacterial analysis was performed, but badly treated
chicks had “lower concentrations of lactic, propionic and butyric acids in the caecum
as compared with other groups at 14 [days] of age. Acetic acid concentration was
profoundly decreased”vii. This research would tend to suggest that life events can alter
the makeup of the gut microflora. Interestingly, the research also suggested that the
negative effects of the unpleasant treatment could be “ameliorated by the addition of
[probiotic] lactobacillus”.

Probiotics in high doses

For the last few years I have been experimenting with many different kinds of
probiotics, and have found that at the recommended doses, they have little or no effect
on mood, and certainly none has helped with my social anxiety disorder.

However, I have also been experimenting with probiotics at very high doses –
megadosing – in what I have termed “Megabiotics”. And there is one probiotic
combination in particular that I have found virtually instantly removed the social
phobia when taken as a megadose.
Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB12

These two strains of bacteria have been well studied in relation to gut illness, but
never before in relation to mood. These are the probiotic bacteria I have had so much
success with. They are both patented by the Danish food company Chr. Hansen.viii At
the moment, the only product in the UK I can find that contains just these bacteria is
“Lamberts Acidophilus Extra 10” capsulesix. Taking these capsules alone however has
no effect on social anxiety disorder – they need to be beefed up by a considerable
factor.

Another source of these probiotics is the ProViact probiotic drink sold in the UK by
Lidl. This is not quite as good as the Lamberts capsules as it contains standard yogurt
bacteria as well as the probiotic bacteria. However, if you just want a quick trial of
this probiotic, drink a couple of these and see if a short-term easing of social anxiety
system occurs after about an hour – the effect can be that quick.

Megadose Probiotics

There is a simple way to get very high doses of probiotic from a small probiotic
source, such as a capsule of the probiotic that I have found so useful: make it into
“yogurt”x. This is simply done by boiling milk, allowing it to cool, and then sprinkling
the contents of the probiotic capsule on top. After around 14 hours of keeping the
milk warm, the result is a probiotic “yogurt” that is teeming with far more life than
the initial capsule. This is how I make the megadoses of Lamberts Acidophilus Extra
10.
Taking the Probiotic

The interesting think about actually eating this probiotic yogurt, is that the effect is
quick. After about 45 minutes, my socially phobic feelings had vanished, and
remained absent for about 4 hours from initial consumption.

Making the effect permanent

Four hours of feeling good in other people’s company is great, but obviously it is far
better to have the effect permanently. This is where I experimented as follows:

Consume a cup full of the probiotic “yogurt” every four hours or so throughout the
day, for a week. This bombards the gut with the probiotic, and it gradually grows and
becomes heavily established in the gut flora. After that you can just top up with a
small amount each day or so.

Are Megabiotics safe?

To my knowledge, there have been no medical trials of very high


dose probiotics. However, as a reasonably healthy individual, I
have not experienced any problems. Starting off from a low dose,
and slowly increasing it may be the sensible route for most
people. Note that probiotics often give a “die-off” reaction. This
reaction is when “bad” bacteria are being expelled, and typically
lasts for about 2 weeks. It can involve many symptoms, the main
ones being stomach-upsets and bloating. Also, during die-off, many existing medical
conditions seem to get worse for a while. Ideally, you should consult a doctor before
taking mega-doses of probiotics, and should not consider it if you have in any way a
weakened immune system.

Conclusion

Megabiotics using Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB12


has removed my social anxiety. I have no idea if this will work for you, but if you do
try it, please let me know the results - good or bad.

Gary Tiv. April 2010.

tiv.gary@googlemail.com
References
i
“Probiotics may ease anxiety: Pilot study”
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Probiotics-may-ease-anxiety-Pilot-study
“A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue
syndrome.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19338686
ii
“Impact of consuming a milk drink containing a probiotic on mood and cognition”.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17151594
iii
“The probiotic Bifidobacteria infantis: An assessment of potential antidepressant properties in the rat”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18456279
iv
“The role of pathogenic microbes and commensal bacteria in irritable bowel syndrome.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20203502
v
“Effect of a probiotic multivitamin compound on stress and exhaustion”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/25916370h83565q7/
vi
“Probiotics in the treatment of atypical depression and other disorders”
US Patent Application 10/841,984
http://www.google.co.uk/patents?lr=&vid=USPATAPP10841984
vii
Br Poult Sci. 2010 Feb;51(1):52-9.
“Gastrointestinal tract morphological alteration by unpleasant physical treatment and modulating role of
Lactobacillus in broilers.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20390569
viii
I have no association or financial relationship with this or any other probiotics manufacturer.
ix
I also have no financial or other interest in this or any other probiotic.
x

For more information on making probiotics at home, google for my document “Homemade Probiotics How to Make
Top Brand Probiotics for Pennies”.