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News - Probiotics show potential against stress, anxiety and depression

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC


According to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, daily supplements of a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can produce beneficial effects on stress-related symptoms.

To carry out the trial, the scientists investigated the effects of probiotics on anxiety, depression and stress in healthy human subjects. The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive the probiotic supplements or a dummy pill for 30 days and then monitored using a battery of stress and anxiety tests. 

The results showed that levels of psychological distress, including measures of depression, anger-hostility, anxiety and problem solving, were significantly improved in the probiotic group, compared to those taking the dummy pills.

“These results provide further evidence that gut microflora play a role in stress, anxiety and depression”, wrote researchers led by Michael Messaoudi.

“The beneficial effects of probiotics on anxiety and depression may be explained by competitive exclusion of deleterious gut pathogens, decreases in pro-inflammatory cytokines and communication with the central nervous system”, they added.

Article References

Messaoudi M et al. Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation in human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition. [Epub ahead of print] 2010.

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