Psychobiotics, probiotics that can yield specific benefits to the nervous system, are gaining attention in mental health circles. As consumers look to better their holistic health physically and emotionally, brands are leaning into the benefits gut health can have on a person’s mental wellbeing.

Seed Health, maker of an award-winning probiotic and prebiotic supplement, launched a Gut-Brain Development program with Axial Therapeutics in July. Using research from the California Institute of Technology, the brand will create innovative solutions to neuropsychiatric health using probiotics, linking microbiome gut health to its potential benefits towards anxiety, stress and depression. As the first lab to uncover the relationship between intestinal microbes and neuropsychiatric conditions, Caltech’s research will be used to better understand and formulate potential microbiome treatments for mental and emotional health benefits.

In a July feature, Dr. Avanish Aggarwal told Forbes: “We know that the gut impacts the brain.” “For example, we know that people with inflammatory bowel disease often also have psychological issues.” Now, consumers seem to be latching onto gut-mind benefits in their quest for emotional wellness. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the “global probiotics market grew from US$39 billion in 2016 to US$58 billion in 2021. Increasingly, supplements are marketed as boosting cognitive function, mood and mental energy.” Medical probiotic brands are taking this growth in stride, introducing these potential mental health benefits globally.

Thailand and Canada approved a registration in August for a new psychobiotic on the market. Bened Biomedical’s probiotic, called PS128, claims to have “potential neurological and mental health benefits, such as improving sleep and reducing symptoms like those seen in anxiety, depression, autism, and Parkinson's disease,” according to a press release. PS128 has clinically shown an ability to adjust dopamine and serotonin levels, therefore helping to regulate neurological conditions caused by these neurotransmitters.

The US-Based Biomedical Company Bened Life, Inc launched its first probiotic for brain health in August. Neuralli, formulated using the same probiotic strain mentioned above, indicated from its 11 clinical studies the ability to “help balance serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, and other molecules that affect mood, mind, and movement, while also helping regulate gastrointestinal tract health,” according to a press release.

Consumers are thinking about their mental health as it relates to their physical wellbeing. Now, probiotics are bridging physical and mental health. What was historically a supplement to aid physical gut health, probiotics are evolving into psychobiotics as they show greater mental and cognitive benefits.

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