Is there a gut-brain axis wherein what you eat affects your mood?

Bacteria appears to do a body a lot of good, from bolstering immunity to easing digestion. Recent evidence also points to certain bacteria as influencing mood, by producing compounds that travel from the intestine to the brain. (There’s even the name for this feel-good superhighway: the gut-brain axis.) Now, a new study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity suggests that taking a probiotic supplement may in fact help improve mood.

Researchers from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition at Leiden University in the Netherlands conducted a randomized controlled trial of 40 healthy young adults who didn’t have mood disorders. Half took a powdered probiotic supplement, which they dissolved in water or milk and drank nightly for four weeks. The probiotic, called Ecologic Barrier and supplied for free by its manufacturer Winclove BV, contained eight different types of bacteria, including several strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Lactococcus—types of bacteria that some research suggests are effective at easing anxious and depressive symptoms. (Some studies show that multispecies probiotics like these might be more effective than those with just one species.) The people who didn’t get a probiotic took a powdered placebo; everyone thought they were getting the probiotic.

(Winclove BV was not involved in the study design, data collection or data analysis.)


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One Response to Is there a gut-brain axis wherein what you eat affects your mood?

  1. Bill Gasiamis says:

    I’ve read a number of articles on gut bacteria and the benefits of probiotics. This article however for the first time explains the way that probiotics actually help to reduce the feelings of sadness. If it is the case that good bacteria reduce inflammation in the gut the implications for the person taking the probiotics are truly great. Less inflammation would have a dramatic benefit to the physical symptoms as well. Thanks for a great read.

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