Reduce stress & anxiety with probiotics

Improve your health and wellbeing with probiotics

A study has found out that probiotics, which are used to keep the digestive tract in sync, could further reduce stress levels and thus, improve your health and wellbeing.

Researchers at the University of Missouri, using a zebrafish model, determined that a common probiotic sold in the supplements and yogurt can decrease stress-related behavior and anxiety.

Studying how gut bacteria affect behavior in zebrafish could further lead to a better understanding of how probiotics may affect the central nervous system in humans. Their results have been recently published in Scientific Reports, a journal of Nature.

Reduce stress & anxiety with probiotics

“Zebrafish are an emerging model species for the neurobehavioral studies and their use is well-established drug-screening,” said Aaron Ericsson, director of the MU Metagenomics Center and a research assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.

“Our study has also shown that a simple probiotics that we normally use, in order to keep our digestive tract in sync, could be beneficial for reducing our stress levels as well.”

In a series of studies, researchers have tested how zebrafish behaved after doses of Lactobacillus plantarum, a common bacterium found in the yogurt and probiotic supplements.

Zebrafish Model

In the first study, scientists have added the bacteria to certain tanks housing zebrafish; other tanks of zebrafish received no further probiotics. Then, the researchers have introduced environmental stressors to both groups, such as draining small amounts of water from the tank and overcrowding.

Reduce stress & anxiety with probiotics

By analyzing the gene pathways of both of the groups of fish, the research team found that the zebrafish that was given the supplements showed a reduction in the metabolic pathways associated with stress.

To test this theory further, the researchers have also measured the movements of fish in their tanks using sophisticated computer measuring and imaging tools.

Previous studies of fish behavior have found that fish that are stressed tend to spend more time at the bottom of their tanks. Once the fish were administered probiotics, they tended to spend more time toward the top of the tanks — the change in behavior indicating they were less stressed or less anxious.

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