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Second Generation Prebiotics May Help Lower Anxiety

According to the Mental Health Foundation, as many as one quarter of people in the western world will experience a mental health problem over any given 12 month period. A recent study suggests that taking supplements of a second generation prebiotics called galacto-oligosaccharides may lower anxiety, a common mental health problem.

Participants in the study included 45 people who took either fructooligosaccharides, Bimuno®-galactooligosaccharides or a placebo daily for three weeks. The researchers sampled salivary cortisol awakening response at the onset and end of the treatment period. On the last day of treatment, all of the participants completed a computerized task battery in order to assess the processing of emotionally significant information.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the Bimuno®-galactooligosaccharides group had significantly lower salivary cortisol response when compared to the placebo. Salivary cortisol response is used to measure hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal

The galactooligosaccharides group also showed lower attentional vigilance to negative versus positive information. Increased attention to negative information is one core functional marker of anxiety and depression.

No improvements were noted in the fructooligosaccharides group.

Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 3, 2014, in Psychopharmacology.

Galacto-oligosaccharides are called second generation prebiotics because they resist digestion by saliva and intestinal enzymes and arrive in the intestine basically intact. Previous studies suggest that second generation prebiotics may inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, stimulate immune functions, and help with the absorption of essential nutrients and syntheses of certain vitamins.

If you’re looking to increase your galacto-oligosaccharides intake, consider taking a high quality supplement.

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