Quantcast
Connect with us

Probiotic bacteria may aid against anxiety and memory problems

Published

on

A daily capsule of probiotic bacteria may help people cope with mild anxiety and memory problems, according to a small study of healthy men.

Those who took the bug-bearing capsules for a month reported less stress and anxiety, and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the morning, than when they took a placebo instead.

Those on probiotics also fared better on memory tests that required them to pair objects together, such as a colour and a number, said Ted Dinan , head of psychiatry at University College Cork.

ADVERTISEMENT

The findings are preliminary and need to be confirmed in more people, but suggest that a harmless strain of live bacteria called Bifidobacterium longum 1714 may have a beneficial effect on brain function.

In the study, healthy men took a daily capsule of a billion probiotic bacteria for a month, and then switched over to a placebo for a month, or vice versa. None of the 22 men knew which pill they were getting. At the start, and after the first and second months, their stress levels and memories were tested, along with brain activity via an EEG machine.

Related: I had the bacteria in my gut analysed. And this may be the future of medicine

“When they were given these bacteria they were less anxious and their capacity to memorise material seemed to be enhanced,” said Dinan, who led the study. The findings were released at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

The effects of the probiotic were small, but enough to help some people, Dinan said. “The effect was large enough for them to perceive less stress.”

Previous research from the Cork team has found that giving the same probiotic to mice seemed to improve their memories and have an antidepressant effect . “This study is one of the few examples where someone has taken a probiotic from preclinical studies and put it into humans and found pretty much the same thing as in rodents.”

Bifidobacterium longum is one of hundreds of bacterial species that live in the gut. Many live there symbiotically, gaining energy from substances absorbed in the intestine. But they do useful jobs for their hosts, such as helping digestion, training the immune system, and keeping harmful bacteria at bay.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dinan said more studies are needed to learn how B longum might have an effect on the brain, but one possibility is that the bacteria release substances that activate the vagus nerve, which connects the gut to the brain. Alternatively, the chemicals they release may leach into the blood supply and reach the brain that way.

The relationship between humans and their gut microbes has been cemented over millennia of evolution, to the point that each – at least in part – now relies on the other. “Bacteria produce chemicals and some of those are neuroactive. Our bodies clearly require them, but we don’t have the capacity to produce them ourselves,” Dinan said.

“By their very nature, probiotics are safe bacteria, and if we can delineate those that have benefits for mental health, that would be a major advance for neuroscience and psychiatry. My hope is that within the next five years we’ll have a probiotic or two on the market that will be effective for treating mild forms of anxiety and depression,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Tapper smacks Mnuchin with Trump kids’ international business deals after attack on Biden son

Published

on

In a fairly contentious interview with Steve Mnuchin, CNN host Jake Tapper pointed out how Donald Trump's children -- Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric -- have been using their father's name to swing international deals after the Treasury secretary accused former Vice President Joe Biden's son of doing the same.

With Mnuchin dismissing reporting by the Washington Post and the conservative Wall Street Journal that Donald Trump was withholding Ukraine funding in an effort to get dirt on Biden and his son -- saying neither newspaper could be trusted -- he complained to the CNN host about having to spend seven and a half minutes talking about Trump's Ukraine scandal.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

Published

on

As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Something is killing galaxies — and science is on the case

Published

on

In the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed. Their star formation is being shut down and astronomers want to know why.

The first ever Canadian-led large project on one of the world’s leading telescopes is hoping to do just that. The new program, called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO), is investigating, in brilliant detail, how galaxies are killed by their environment.

As VERTICO’s principal investigator, I lead a team of 30 experts that are using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to map the molecular hydrogen gas, the fuel from which new stars are made, at high resolution across 51 galaxies in our nearest galaxy cluster, called the Virgo Cluster.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image