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Probiotics and Prebiotics May Help Improve Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

Probiotics are live bacteria found in certain foods or in supplement form that survive in the gut and provide health benefits. Prebiotics are the food source for friendly bacteria in the gut. A recent study suggests that probiotics taken by themselves or in combination with prebiotics may help alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms. 

For their study, the researchers looked at 7 studies that investigated the effect of supplementation with probiotics or a combination of probiotics and prebiotics on depression and anxiety. All of them included at least one probiotic strain, and 4 included a combination of multiple strains.

A total of 12 probiotic strains were used in the studies. The most common strains used were Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium bifidium. All of the studies showed a significant improvement of depression and anxiety symptoms as a result of supplementation with probiotics or a combination of probiotics and prebiotics.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Brighton. It was published online ahead of print on July 6, 2020 in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

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