Psychobiotics, the Pharmacology of Probiotics, and Our Body’s Naturally Innate Pharmacy

Psychobiotics, the Pharmacology of Probiotics, and Our Body’s Naturally Innate Pharmacy

About the only independent variable appearing to cause permanent change in the gut is dietary change, but did you know that your microbiome and microflora are drug manufacturers?

It’s a little known fact that one of our body’s innate pharmacies resides in our gut.

Where, exactly, in our gut, you ask?

Well, in neurochemicals isolated in various microbial species whose diversity depends on our microbiome’s health. This speaks to another emerging area of interest: probiotics as pharmacy.

This article will briefly discuss five neurochemical isolated from various genera of normal gut bacteria:

1. GABA: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, helping to induce a parasympathetic response, and significantly impacting and regulating various processes both physiologically and psychologically. Several animal studies indicate that various species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are capable of producing GABA in the gut. (1, 2, 3, 4)

2. Norepinephrine: Escherichia, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces. Norepinephrine is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter active during a sympathetic response which is upregulated during fight or flight and acts as a stress hormone. Several animal studies have shown that various species of Escherichia, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces play a role in upregulatting and producing norepinephrine. (5, 6, 7, 8)

3. Serotonin: Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia, and Enterococcus. Serotonin is a key hormone, an estimated 90% of which is thought to be produced in the gut, that is key in mood stabilization and happiness, as well as impacting learning, attention, and memory processes. Several animal studies have indicate that various species of Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia and Enterococcus play a role in serotonin production. (9, 10, 11, 12)

4. Dopamine: Bacillus and Serratia. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in our ability to experience pleasure, as well as cognitive control in our prefrontal cortext. Several animal studies have shown that certain species of Bacillus and Serratia play a key role in the production of dopamine. (13, 14)

5. Acetylcholine: Lactobacillus. Acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system and its receptors are present all throughout our smooth muscle, blood vessels, and even heart muscle, as it helps to downregulate the function of certain organs during rest and digest. Several animal studies show that various species of Bacillus and Serratia are capable of producing acetylecholine in the gut. (15, 16)


  1. Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102999108. Epub 2011 Aug 29. PMID: 21876150; PMCID: PMC3179073
  2. Patterson E, Ryan PM, Wiley N, Carafa I, Sherwin E, Moloney G, Franciosi E, Mandal R, Wishart DS, Tuohy K, Ross RP, Cryan JF, Dinan TG, Stanton C. Gamma-aminobutyric acid-producing lactobacilli positively affect metabolism and depressive-like behaviour in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome. Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 8;9(1):16323. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51781-x. PMID: 31704943; PMCID: PMC6841999
  3. Duranti, S., Ruiz, L., Lugli, G.A. et al. Bifidobacterium adolescentis as a key member of the human gut microbiota in the production of GABASci Rep 10, 14112 (2020).
  4. Yunes RA, Poluektova EU, Vasileva EV, Odorskaya MV, Marsova MV, Kovalev GI, Danilenko VN. A Multi-strain Potential Probiotic Formulation of GABA-Producing Lactobacillus plantarum 90sk and Bifidobacterium adolescentis 150 with Antidepressant Effects. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2020 Sep;12(3):973-979. doi: 10.1007/s12602-019-09601-1. PMID: 31677091
  5. Lopes, J.G., Sourjik, V. Chemotaxis of Escherichia coli to major hormones and polyamines present in human gutISME J 12, 2736–2747 (2018).
  6. Strandwitz P. Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiotaBrain Res. 2018;1693(Pt B):128-133. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015
  7. Galland L. The gut microbiome and the brainJ Med Food. 2014;17(12):1261-1272. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.7000
  8. Malikina KD, Shishov VA, Chuvelev DI, Kudrin VS, Oleskin AV. [Regulatory role of monoamine neurotransmitters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells]. Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol. 2010 Nov-Dec;46(6):672-7. Russian. PMID: 21261078
  9. Mayr A, Hinterberger G, Dierich MP, Lass-Flörl C. Interaction of serotonin with Candida albicans selectively attenuates fungal virulence in vitro. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2005;26(4):335-337. doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2005.07.006
  10. Yano JM, Yu K, Donaldson GP, et al. Indigenous bacteria from the gut microbiota regulate host serotonin biosynthesis [published correction appears in Cell. 2015 Sep 24;163:258]. Cell. 2015;161(2):264-276. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.047
  11. Banskota S, Regmi SC, Gautam J, Gurung P, Lee YJ, Ku SK, Lee JH, Lee J, Chang HW, Park SJ, Kim JA. Serotonin disturbs colon epithelial tolerance of commensal E. coli by increasing NOX2-derived superoxide. Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 May;106:196-207. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.02.034. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28216386
  12. Evrensel A, Ceylan ME. The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015;13(3):239-244. doi:10.9758/cpn.2015.13.3.239
  13. Liu J, Xu F, Nie Z, Shao L. Gut Microbiota Approach-A New Strategy to Treat Parkinson’s DiseaseFront Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020;10:570658. Published 2020 Oct 22. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.570658
  14. Zhu F, Li C, Chu F, Tian X, Zhu J. Target Dysbiosis of Gut Microbes as a Future Therapeutic Manipulation in Alzheimer’s DiseaseFront Aging Neurosci. 2020;12:544235. Published 2020 Oct 6. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2020.544235
  15. STEPHENSON M, ROWATT E. The production of acetylcholine by a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum. J Gen Microbiol. 1947 Sep;1(3):279-98. doi: 10.1099/00221287-1-3-279. PMID: 20270627
  16. Yong SJ, Tong T, Chew J, Lim WL. Antidepressive Mechanisms of Probiotics and Their Therapeutic Potential. Front Neurosci. 2020;13:1361. Published 2020 Jan 14. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01361
The Potential Impact of Cholecystectomy on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism, and Liver Detoxification

The Potential Impact of Cholecystectomy on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism, and Liver Detoxification

Cholecystectomy is a common surgical procedure in which the gallbladder is removed, usually because of bile duct stones or gallstones. (1)

Bile acids are made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, but when the gallbladder has been removed, there is no place for them to be stored. (2)

Bile acids are required particularly for the promotion of lipid absorption, but they also play a significant role in activating enzymes responsible for phase I, phase II, and phase III metabolism in the liver. (3)

Hence, if someone has had a cholecystectomy, then their primary detoxification pathways will be compromised by the fact that they are bile acid deficient.

It goes without saying that a person who has had cholecystectomy is thereby more likely to have toxins build up in their system, tissues, and blood, which means that supporting the detoxification pathways in patients who are missing their gallbladder is essential. (4)

Also, supplementing with bile salts may be necessary, but it is essential to consult your naturopathic doctor instead of self-diagnosing and self-treating.


  1. Njeze GE. GallstonesNiger J Surg. 2013;19(2):49-55. doi:10.4103/1117-6806.119236
  2. Secretion of Bile and the Role of Bile Acids In Digestion. (n.d.).
  3. Hoekstra R, Nibourg GA, van der Hoeven TV, Plomer G, Seppen J, Ackermans MT, Camus S, Kulik W, van Gulik TM, Elferink RP, Chamuleau RA. Phase 1 and phase 2 drug metabolism and bile acid production of HepaRG cells in a bioartificial liver in absence of dimethyl sulfoxide. Drug Metab Dispos. 2013 Mar;41(3):562-7. doi: 10.1124/dmd.112.049098. Epub 2012 Dec 13. PMID: 23238784.
  4. Grant DM. Detoxification pathways in the liver. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1991;14(4):421-30. doi: 10.1007/BF01797915. PMID: 1749210.
Iron Deficiency Anemia and Detoxification

Iron Deficiency Anemia and Detoxification

Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition, prevalent in around 10% of non-Hispanic white women and nearly 20 percent of black and Mexican-American women. (1)

Iron is stored by a protein called ferritin, which is made by the liver, and so if ferritin is low, then there is not sufficient storage capacity in the body. (2)

Checking ferritin is the best way to check for iron deficiency, for this reason.

A little known fact is that the cytochrome P450 enzymes also made in the liver require heme-iron structurally in order to function. (3)

These enzymes play a critical role in the metabolism and clearance of drugs, in something called Phase 1 detoxification.

Hence, having low iron can mean that our detoxification pathways will not function at their highest level, as the p450 enzymes may not have the iron they require to be built in sufficient quantity.

Also, because ferritin and the cytochrome p450 enzymes are both made by the liver, supporting a healthy liver will aid in their production.


  1. Killip S, Bennett JM, Chambers MD. Iron deficiency anemia. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Mar 1;75(5):671-8. Erratum in: Am Fam Physician. 2008 Oct 15;78(8):914. PMID: 17375513
  2. Anderson ER, Shah YM. Iron homeostasis in the liver. Compr Physiol. 2013;3(1):315-330. doi:10.1002/cphy.c120016
  3. Correia MA, Sinclair PR, De Matteis F. Cytochrome P450 regulation: the interplay between its heme and apoprotein moieties in synthesis, assembly, repair, and disposalDrug Metab Rev. 2011;43(1):1-26. doi:10.3109/03602532.2010.515222
The Antioxidant Function of Cholesterol

The Antioxidant Function of Cholesterol

A little known fact is that cholesterol actually possesses antioxidant function.

In particular, HDL, the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol, can protect LDL, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, from oxidative damage. (1)

LDL particles are also rich in antioxidants, such as α-tocopherol, β-carotene and ubiquinol-10, which protects LDL from free radical attack and oxidation. (2)

This is yet another reason why the quality of the cholesterol consumed in our diet is critical, and why ample fat soluble vitamins and nutrients are a key component.

Also, given that antioxidants are protective, and there is an antioxidant component in cholesterol, could it be that at times, in certain individuals, the presence of high cholesterol may be an intelligent mechanism on the part of the body to protect us in some way?


  1. Soran H, Schofield JD, Durrington PN. Antioxidant properties of HDL. Front Pharmacol. 2015;6:222. Published 2015 Oct 16. doi:10.3389/fphar.2015.00222
  2. Singh N, Singh N, Kumar Singh S, Kumar Singh A, Kafle D, Agrawal N. Reduced Antioxidant Potential of LDL Is Associated With Increased Susceptibility to LDL Peroxidation in Type II Diabetic Patients. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;10(4):582-586. doi:10.5812/ijem.5029
How to Apply The Seventh Law of Healing, The Law of Intention

How to Apply The Seventh Law of Healing, The Law of Intention

The mind has an inherent and innate ability to manifest that to which it persistently attends. When we realize that we can facilitate this inborn capacity, we can elevate health and well-being.


“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” —Oprah (1)

“Our intention creates our reality.” —Wayne Dyer (2)

The seventh law of healing is the Law of Intention. The word intention comes from the Latin word for “stretching” or “purpose,” basically meaning “to turn one’s attention toward a purpose.” When we focus our attention on that which we intend to manifest in our lives, we can take advantage of the Law of Intention. Intention can be used in a practical way to enhance the likelihood of a positive health outcome for our loved ones as well as ourselves.

When beginning to work with new clients, I sometimes have to step back and ask myself, “What is my intention in our collaboration as healthcare practitioner and patient?” Is my intention to sign my patient up to a program that will manage their health condition for the rest of eternity, or is my intention to help them resolve their chronic disease so that they no longer have that complaint? In and of itself, neither the former nor the latter intention is wrong. However, when we know why we do what we do, then monitoring the trajectory of health becomes that much easier.

We can know when we are moving toward health, and when we are moving away from health. In other words, if our intention is to resolve a chronic disease, then we can use the Law of Cure, articulated earlier in this book, to help guide us in knowing whether we are succeeding. We can use the laws of nature to guide us in our own healing journeys. We can set the intention that self-healing is a distinct possibility, maybe even an expectation or imminent reality.

Through the Law of Intention, we can set the stage for a self-organizing cascade of events in the human organism that propel us toward greater vitality. We can establish a relationship, not only with ourselves but also with our communities, where intention actually becomes a modality that guides eve

ry step of treatment. Whether consciously or unconsciously, our intention determines our reality. Our intention influences the expression of our genes epigenetically, as well as the genes of those with whom we interact. (3) What we believe about ourselves and our loved ones literally impacts the expression of our DNA. The intention of this book has been to distill the laws of healing into simple language to help explain, in pragmatic terms, how to resolve chronic disease and live a long and healthy life.

Motivational teacher Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. (4) This also pertains to health, as well as financial success and life fulfillment. We have a great influence. on those around us, particularly those with whom we spend the most time: our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. This ties directly into the intention we bring to our relationships. If you want to know the future of your health, look to the intention of the five closest people in your life for clues.

The mystic Gurdjieff once said, to paraphrase, “Show me someone who can make a good cup of coffee, and I can teach them something.” (5) He was speaking about the intention that people bring to mastering a craft. He was stating that this level of attentiveness and presence. was a necessary prerequisite capacity for developing higher awareness.

In other words, our intention can have an effect on everything. that we do, down to making a good cup of coffee. Masaru Emoto showed that our intention and thought can directly influence the molecular shape of water. (6) Our bodies alone, just like the covering of the earth’s surface, are comprised of over 70 percent water. (7) By extension, then, our intention toward greater health and wellness can begin with our own health as well as the health of our loved ones, and it can be directed toward the earth as well. We can heal ourselves, we can heal chronic disease, and our healing journey begins with the intention to do so.

How Can We Apply the Law of Intention to Benefit Our Health?

When we face certain situations throughout our day, we can ask ourselves what our underlying intentions are. This can include sitting down to eat lunch during a busy weekday: Does the food we are about to put into our mouths align with our intention? We can begin to tune in to the intentions of others, as we can all, at least viscerally, feel the intention of other human beings with whom we are interacting. Is their intention good or bad,  favorable or unfavorable for us

The Law of Intention begins with you. What are your own intentions toward yourself with regard to your health and well-being?

Applying the Law of Intention:

Explore the Law of Intention by engaging in the following activities:

1. Sit down and complete a writing exercise regarding. your health and well-being:

              a. My life purpose is ___________.


              b. Today I intend to ___________.

              c. This month I intend to ___________.

              d. This year I intend to ___________.

              e. Over the next five years I intend to ______.

              f. Over the next ten years I intend to _______.

              g. Over the next twenty years I intend to ____.

2. Write out the above seven intentions and hang them in your house somewhere where you can see them each day. Each day recite them out loud one to two times.

3. Write three paragraphs about how you see yourself. meeting your own goals with regard to your. health and wellness, and how you will feel in your own body when you achieve these goals. How does your body feel and look in this vision? Be descriptive, using all of your five senses, experiencing it as though it were now. Then, each day, take a minute to read out loud this piece of writing, and see and feel it in your mind’s eye. Be as specific as you possibly can be. Using the Law of Intention, if you can see how you want your body to be in your mind’s eye and experience greater health and wellness with all five of your senses, your subconscious mind will begin moving toward helping you to achieve this goal.

4. Find an accountability partner, group, life coach, health coach, or naturopathic doctor who shares the same intentions for greater health and wellbeing as you do. Commit to spending regular time with them, as they will remind you of the intentions that you have set. They will help to hold you accountable to your life purpose and your life intentions, with regard to your health and wellness, whatever they may be.

5. Please fill in the blank: I’m grateful for my health because __________.



  1. Curtin, M. “25 Oprah Winfrey Quotes that Will Empower. You (and Make You Laugh).” February 11, 2019.
  2. Dyer, W. W. The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2012.
  3. Weinhold, B. “Epigenetics: The Science of Change.” Environmental Health Perspectives 114, no. 3 (2006): A160–67. doi:10.1289/ehp.114-a160.
  4. Groth, A. “You’re the Average of the Five People You Spend the Most Time With.” Business Insider. 2012.
  5. Ouspensky, P. D. In Search of the Miraculous. London: Paul H. Crompton, 2004.
  6. Emoto, M. The Hidden Messages in Water. New York: Atria Books, 2005.
  7. US Department of the Interior. “How Much Water Is There on Earth?” Accessed January 24, 2020.