Probiotics that expand the mix of beneficial bacteria in the gut can help ease depression, researchers claim. Foods which extend the profile of beneficial bacteria in the gut are known collectively as probiotics. Such “healthy bacteria” may be used as supplements, or contained in yoghurts or fermented foods naturally.
Out of an initial haul of 71 studies, just seven met all the criteria for inclusion. All 7 investigated at least one probiotic strain; four looked at the effect of combinations of multiple strains.In all, 12 probiotic strains featured in the selected studies, primarily Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidium.
Of the 12 different probiotics investigated, 11 were potentially useful, the findings showed.’Probiotics may help reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines, as is the case in inflammatory bowel disease, the researchers suggested. “They may help direct the action of tryptophan, a chemical thought to be important in the gut-brain axis in psychiatric disorders,” they added.In this way, with a better understanding of the mechanisms, probiotics may prove to be a useful tool across a wide range of conditions,” the authors wrote.