Skip to main content
ABC News
Can Microbes Heal Your Gut And Mind?

It’s been gut science week at FiveThirtyEight, an exploration of what we know about the gut, what we put into it, and what comes out of it. Two of the articles this week focused on probiotics and psychobiotics, two types of bacteria that promise to change how healthy we feel. Probiotics are all the rage, showing up in commercials, on GNC shelves, and in fancy artisanal soft drinks at my local food coop. Psychobiotics are right behind them, a variant of probiotics that are supposed to make us feel better psychologically, rather than make our guts feel better physically.

But does the science suggest either is really having a significant effect?

On this week’s What’s The Point, I discussed just that with gut science week writers Christie Aschwanden and Katie Hobson.

Stream or download the full episode above, or subscribe using your favorite podcast app. And when you’re done, have a read of our articles about probiotics and psychobiotics.

One last note for What’s The Point diehards: Jody Avirgan was called for jury duty this week, so he wasn’t able to host. Hopefully he will be back next week!

Chadwick Matlin was a deputy managing editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Christie Aschwanden was a lead science writer for FiveThirtyEight. Her book “Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery” is available here.

Katherine Hobson is a freelance health and science writer in Brooklyn, New York.