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Probiotic May Ease Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are considered psychological problems, but an increasingly large body of research is finding connections between physical changes in the body and psychological outcomes. A recent study suggests that daily supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum P8 may help relieve stress and anxiety.


Participants in the study included 103 stressed adults with an average age of 32. All the participants fulfilled the criteria of moderate stress as measured by the PSS-10 questionnaire. They were given either 20 billion CFU of L. plantarum or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Researchers measured the effects of the probiotic on psychological, memory, and cognitive parameters.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted lower stress, anxiety, and total scores on the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. There was no recorded impact on depression scores.


The researchers also noted significant improvements in IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha — which are markers of inflammation — in the supplement group, when compared with the placebo. Additionally, they noted both cognitive and memory improvements in the supplement group, including social emotional cognition improvements for women but not men and memory of an international shopping list in men but not women. Women also showed slight improvements in speed of an identification task, but men did not.


Researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 19, 2018, in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

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