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Championing optimum nutrition for the mind


Beneficial gut bacteria reduce anxiety and depression in mice. Bravo et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print], 2011.

Paper

 

Beneficial gut bacteria reduce anxiety and depression in mice. Bravo et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print], 2011.

Details

It is understood that there is constant communication between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis). Central to this is the vast population of bacteria (and other microscopic organisms) that reside in the healthy gut. Its staggering to consider that there are ten times more bacteria in the human gut than there are cells in the entire body! In this study, mice were fed a strain of probiotic (gut bacteria) or placebo. The mice who received the probiotics showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than the unsupplemented mice (controls).  Not only was their behaviour different, but their levels of stress hormones were lower too. The researchers also observed altered neurotransmitter activity in the brains of the supplemented mice, suggesting a direct effect on brain chemistry.

Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF. (2011) Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print]

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