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Probiotics May Help Reduce Depressive Feelings

Depression is usually associated with the brain but other parts of your body may also have an influence on depressive feelings. A recent study suggests that taking a multistrain probiotic may reduce feelings of sadness and lessen the focus on bad feelings experiences from the past.

Participants in the study included 40 healthy subjects without current mood disorder. They were given a sachet containing either multistrain probiotics or a placebo that they mixed with lukewarm water or milk once daily for four weeks. The probiotic sachet contained Bifidobacterium bifidum W37, Bifidobacterium lactis W63, L. case W52, Lactobacilius acidophilus W37, Lactobacillus brevis W63, L. case W56, Lactobacillus salivarius W24, and Lactococcus lactis (W19 and W58).

The participants filled out a questionnaire indexing sensitivity to depression in a lab at the onset and conclusion of the study. The results showed that the probiotic group had significantly fewer aggressive and ruminative thoughts than the placebo group. They also had lower cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Ruminative thoughts were defined as recurrent thoughts about possible causes and consequences of one’s distress.

Researchers from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 7, 2015, in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

While probiotics are most commonly associated with improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits These benefits include strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.
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