In 2007, the first hint emerged that probiotics could affect not only physical health, but psychological health. A study arrived at the shocking conclusion that people with depression had significantly greater improvement in mood on a probiotic than on a placebo (Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61:355-61).

In 2011, a study found that probiotics could significantly improve depression, anger and anxiety (Gut Microbes 2011;2:256-61). An earlier study had already hinted at the possibility that probiotics could help anxiety. A placebo-controlled study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome found that probiotics significantly reduced their anxiety scores (Gut Pathology 2009;1:6-10). So, is it true that probiotics that reside in the gastrointestinal tract can actually calm anxiety? . . .

That’s the question researchers asked when they reviewed the literature on the effect of probiotics on anxiety and depression. Surprisingly, they found ten controlled studies. They concluded that the studies did provide limited support for the use of probiotics in depression and anxiety: probiotics actually have psychological benefits.

Nutr Res 2016;36(9):889-98

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