Posted on Nov 11, 2010, 6 a.m.
French team reports that daily supplements of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium yield beneficial psychological effects.
Previous studies have shown that gastrointestinal flora have a role in stress, anxiety, and depression. A French team has found that specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two probiotic compounds, yield beneficial psychological effects. Michael Messaoudi and colleagues investigated the effects of probiotics on anxiety-type symptoms in rats, and also on anxiety, depression, and stress in healthy human volunteers. In the rat study, animals were given daily supplements of probiotics for two weeks and then subjected to a test challenge. The probiotic-supplemented animals had lower stress and anxiety scores, as compared with control animals. In the human study, subjects either randomly received a probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) or placebo for 30 days, and then tested using a battery of stress and anxiety assessments. Among the probiotic-supplemented subjects. psychological distress, including measures of depression, anger-hostility, anxiety, and problem solving, were significantly improved, as compared with the placebo group. The researches conclude that: “[Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium] taken in combination display ... beneficial psychological effects in healthy human volunteers.”
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Michael Messaoudi, Robert Lalonde, Nicolas Violle, Herve Javelot, Didier Desor, Amine Nejdi, Jean-Francois Bisson, Catherine Rougeot, Matthieu Pichelin, Murielle Cazaubiel , Jean-Marc Cazaubiel. “Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects.” British Journal of Nutrition, 26 October 2010.