Study Says Probiotics Curb Stress and Anxiety

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Eat Yogurt Now for a Stress-Free Life

A new study revealed that probiotics, or live bacteria that are found in yogurt, can cut stress-related behavior and anxiety.

This new finding is confirmed by Aaron Ericsson, one of the authors of the study and director of the MU Metagenomics Center, who said, “Our study has shown that simple probiotics that we normally use to keep our digestive tract in sync, could be beneficial to reducing our stress levels as well.”

This study was spearheaded by researchers at the University of Missouri and was published in Scientific Reports, a journal of Nature.

Using the Zebrafish Model

To probe further into how gut bacteria affect the central nervous system, the researchers used the zebrafish model.

According to Ericcson, zebrafish are an emerging model species for neurobehavioral studies and their use is well-established in drug-screening.

Using zebrafish, we’ve developed a relatively inexpensive platform for testing of other species of bacteria and probiotics and their potential benefit on different systems of the body,” Ericsson said.

A bowl of yogurt with fresh fruits and oats.
A bowl of yogurt with fresh fruits and oats.

The Study and Results

The researchers conducted a series of studies that included a test on how zebrafish behaved after doses of Lactobacillus plantarum, a common bacteria found in yogurt and probiotic supplements.

In the first study, scientists added the bacteria to certain tanks housing zebrafish; other tanks of zebrafish received no probiotics. Then, the researchers introduced environmental stressors to both groups, such as draining small amounts of water from the tank and overcrowding. This is on a daily basis. Stressors included common environmental stress patterns, such as isolation stress and temperature change, so it made the tests relevant to humans as well.

Here are the results!

Interestingly, the research team found that zebrafish that were given the supplements showed a decrease in the metabolic pathways associated with stress.

To test their theory further, the researchers measured the movements of fish in their tanks using advanced computer measuring and imaging tools. Previous studies of fish behavior revealed that fish that are stressed tend to spend more time at the bottom of their tanks. Once the fish were administered probiotics, they spent more time toward the top of the tanks. This change in behavior showed they were less stressed or less anxious.

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Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.