Probiotics are late entrants into the world of health supplements and nutraceuticals. Even as the experts are divided as to their efficacy, ongoing research seems to support their benefits. Where previously probiotics were linked to digestive health, the spectrum of their benefits keeps getting wider. How about probiotics as mood boosters?
According to a recent study, probiotics may play a role in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
For these who may not know, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. They are mainly linked to digestive health and balance but the list of their benefits keeps growing, including support for brain health.
Now, we are not going to use the term “depression cure” as some posts out there suggest. Anything with “cure” we’d rather leave to medical experts. However, if indeed probiotics can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety as the new study seems to suggest, it may all be to the good.
Researchers from McMaster University looked at 44 adult participants with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) who also had symptoms of depression and anxiety. Half took a probiotic Bifidobacteriumlongum, while the other half took a placebo.
After six weeks, twice as many people who took a placebo had decreased symptoms of depression or anxiety compared with the placebo group (64 percent versus 32 percent). The results were similar after 10 weeks.
Brain scans also revealed changes in brain areas associated with mood regulation, for participants who took probiotic supplements.
What is not yet clear, however, is whether mood improvement was a direct result of probiotics or because of relief from the IBS symptoms. That there was a change visible change in brain scans for people on probiotics is significant, if we may opine.
We hope more studies will be conducted soon. Probiotics are turning out to be super-supplements, with a wide range of health benefits. Whether you or not you have IBS, you may want to add probiotics to your supplementation regimen. However, choosing the best probiotics supplements is extremely important.