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Probiotic Bacteria May Help Ease Anxiety

Supplements of a probiotic called Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LCS) may ease anxiety in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to a study published in the March 2009 issue of the journal Gut Pathogens.

LCS is a common probiotic bacteria which has been shown to improve gut health and is used in the production of fermented milk products and lactic acid bacteria preparations.

CFS is an illness marked by persistent and relapsing fatigue.  Many patients with the illness report anxiety and gastrointestinal disturbances.

University of Toronto researchers recruited 39 CFS patients between the ages of 18 and 65 for the study.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive daily supplements of LCS (24 billion colony forming units) or a placebo for a period of 2 months.

At the end of the study, the researchers found higher levels of LCS among the supplement group and lower levels of self reported anxiety.

These results support the findings of a previous study in the UK which found an association between an increase in gut bacteria and alleviation of mood disorders, including anxiety.

The researchers note that they intend to follow up these findings with further, more in depth studies. They hope to learn more about which strains of bacteria and what levels are best to help mood disorders.

Although the science behind the cognitive benefits of probiotics is still building, these good bacteria have already been shown to help with digestion, the immune system, combating disease causing bad bacteria and even preventing bad breath.

Consuming more foods like yogurt and cultured milk are one of the easiest ways to increase probiotic levels in your body. You also may want to incorporate a quality probiotic supplement into your diet.

The best probiotic supplements have several different bacteria strains (different strains have different benefits) and several billion bacteria cells. Ensure that the product you choose is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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