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If winter doldrums or post-holiday blues have you feeling down, you may be interested in research which links probiotics (“good” bacteria) to improving people’s mood. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who took a specific probiotic formula for 30 days reported relief from psychological distress.
Probiotics may protect your mind
A preliminary animal study by the authors of this study showed that the probiotic formulation reduced anxiety in rats. In this study, they looked at the effects of a probiotic formula on mood, stress, and coping strategies in humans.
A total of 55 healthy men and women were randomly assigned to a daily probiotic formula (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) or placebo for 30 days. Before and after treatment the participants filled out a variety of questionnaires about mood, stress, and coping and had a 24-hour urine collection for cortisol levels (one indicator of stress).
Results showed that compared with the placebo group, the probiotic group reported greater relief from depression, anger–hostility, anxiety, and the kind of worry that leads to physical symptoms (somatization). Urinary cortisol levels were lower in the probiotic group compared with the placebo group.
“Subject to the confirmation of these results, probiotics might offer a useful novel therapeutic approach to neuropathological disorders and/or as adjunct therapies in psychiatric disorders,” said lead author Michael Messaoudi, from the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology, at ETAP-Ethologie Applique´e,Vandoeuvre-le`s-Nancy, France, and his colleagues. This study was funded by Rosell-Lallemand, the makers of the probiotic formula provided in this study.
Increasing benefits of probiotics
(Br J Nutr 2010;doi:10.1017/S0007114510004319)