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Probiotic Combination May Help Improve Mood

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that helps promote the growth and maintenance of nerve cells. Previous research has suggested that BDNF levels are lower in people with depression. A new study has found that supplementation with two probiotic strains may help increase levels of BDNF and improve depressive symptoms.

Participants in the study included 78 adults with low to moderate depression. They were separated into 3 groups and given 10 billion CFU of the probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175, a prebiotic fiber, or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. Depressive symptoms and serum BDNF levels were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study period.

Participants in the probiotic group saw significant increases in BDNF levels compared to the other two groups. They also saw significant improvements in depressive symptoms scores assessed via Beck’s Depression Inventory.

The study was conducted by researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. It was published online ahead of print on September 30, 2020 in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

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