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Probiotics May Benefit People with Major Depressive Disorder

Probiotics are most commonly known for their gut health benefits, but an increasing number of studies are finding they may help in a wide range of other areas as well. For example, a recent study suggests that taking a probiotic supplement may help improve mood and metabolic status in people with major depressive disorder.


Participants in the study included 40 people between the ages of 20 and 55 years old who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Over the course of eight weeks, they were given a probiotic capsule containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidum or a placebo daily. The researchers took fasting blood samples at the beginning and end of the study. In addition, all the participants supplied three dietary records and three physical activity records during the course of the study.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the probiotic group had significantly decreased Beck Depression Inventory total scores when compared with the placebo group. They also had decreased serum insulin levels, improved insulin resistant assessment, serum hs-CRP, and a rise in plasma total glutathione when compared with the placebo group.


No significant change was found in fasting plasma glucose, homeostatic model assessment of beta cell function, quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, lipid profiles, or total antioxidant capacity levels.


Researchers from Kashan University of Medical Sciences in Kashan, Iran, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 25, 2015, in the journal Nutrition.


Previous studies suggest that different probiotic strains may help with weight loss, improve digestion, prevent recurring yeast infections, and boost the immune system.

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