Probiotics cut anxiety in chronic fatigue syndrome, depressed people may need more B vitamins, and vitamin D eased seasonal depression and improved mood in depressed overweight adults, in four new studies.
Researchers in a chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) study explained that most of those with CFS have anxiety, and that many also complain of gut (gastrointestinal) upset. The doctors noted that new research shows gut germs can communicate with the central nervous system and influence emotional behaviors, particularly anxiety. Scientists gave about 40 men and women with CFS, aged 18 to 65, 24 billion colony-forming units of the probiotic Lactobacillus casei per day or a placebo. After two months, those in the probiotics group had much less anxiety compared to the beginning of the study and to placebo.
Doctors in a mood study reviewed how vitamin deficiency and inflammation influence mood disorders. The researchers noted that in depression, deficiencies in folate, vitamins B12 and B6, and omega-3 fatty acids alter the central nervous system, reducing serotonin—the chemical that controls mood—and phospholipids—the fats that cover and protect nerves. Doctors also found about half of those with depression had high blood levels of homocysteine, a sign of inflammation when B vitamins are deficient.
In a small study, nine women with seasonal depression and low blood levels of vitamin D who took 5,000 IU of vitamin D were able to significantly increase vitamin D levels. Three of the women whose vitamin D increased to optimal levels had test scores that showed normal mood with little depression.