A review published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health suggests that probiotics, either taken alone or in combination with prebiotics, may have a positive impact on alleviating depression.
The preliminary evidence suggests that probiotics may reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals and influence the gut-brain axis. A two-way relationship exists between the brain and the gut, so there is a possibility that our microbiome might influence our mental health.
Read more about the study below:
“Probiotics may help reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines, as is the case in inflammatory bowel disease, suggest the researchers. Or they may help direct the action of tryptophan, a chemical thought to be important in the gut-brain axis in psychiatric disorders.
As anxiety disorders and depression affect people very differently, they require treatment approaches that take account of these complexities, they say. ‘In this way, with a better understanding of the mechanisms, probiotics may prove to be a useful tool across a wide range of conditions,’ they write.
People with depression and/or anxiety disorders also often have other underlying conditions, such as impaired insulin production and irritable bowel syndrome, they point out.
‘As such, the effect that probiotics have on patients with [common mental disorders] may be twofold: they may directly improve depression in line with the observed findings of this review, and/or they might beneficially impact a patient’s experience of their [common mental disorder] by alleviating additional comorbidities,’ they write.”
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