Friday November 22, 2019

Probiotics so-called “good” bacteria can act as Mood Elevator and ease Symptoms of Depression: Researchers

The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that what happens in the gut affects the brain.

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A new study suggests probiotics show promise in decreasing anxiety and depression.Source-VOA

Canada, May 25, 2017:  A new study suggests that probiotics, so-called “good” bacteria that aid in digestion, may also ease symptoms of depression. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that what happens in the gut affects the brain.

Some 300 to 500 bacterial species inhabit the human gut, many aiding in digestion and the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

Experts say some of these bacteria produce proteins that communicate with the brain.

Your gut, your mood

The gut flora not only play a role in helping to orchestrate the neural responses that regulate digestion, scientists say, but evidence is emerging that gut bacteria can also affect a person’s mood.

Premysl Bercik, a gastroenterologist at Ontario Canada’s McMaster University, researches what he calls the microbiota-gut-brain axis, or the communication between the gut and the brain through the millions of bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract.

Bercik said between 40 and 90 percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome, a distressing intestinal disorder, also battle symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Research led by Bercik suggests the gut bacteria themselves may have an effect on mood.

In Bercik’s pilot study of 44 patients with irritable bowel syndrome and mild to moderate anxiety or depression, half of the patients received a daily probiotic — a beneficial gut bacterium called Bifidobacterium longum — and the other half were given a placebo. The participants were followed for 10 weeks.

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“What we found was that the patients that were treated with this probiotic bacterium improved their gut symptoms but, also surprisingly, decreased their depression scores,” Bercik said. “That means their mood improved. And this was associated also with changes in the brain imaging.”

Depression, anxiety improve

At the beginning of the study, the patients’ levels of depression and anxiety were scored. The patients also underwent high-tech brain imaging to see which structures were activated in response to happy and sad images.

At six weeks, 64 percent of patients taking the probiotic had a decrease in their depression scores compared to 32 percent of the placebo patients.

A second round of imaging showed changes in multiple brain areas involved with mood control in the patients who felt better.

While the participants’ gut symptoms improved, Bercik said it was not to a statistically significant degree, suggesting the probiotic may have improved their anxiety and depression independent of symptom relief.

Results of the study were published in the journal Gastroenterology.

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More study needed

Bercik says larger studies are needed to confirm the findings.

“However, I think that it shows a great promise,” he said. “I mean new treatments, not only for patients with functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, but it may also offer some new treatments for patients with primary psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety.”

B. longum was developed by Nestle, a Swiss food and drink company, which funded the study. It is not yet commercially available.

However, Bercik says it’s possible other probiotics found in the gut have the potential to improve mood. And he doesn’t stop there. Bercik says he envisions a form of personalized medicine using genome sequencing techniques to create microbiome profiles of individuals, which can be tweaked with oral probiotics for maximum health. (VOA)

Next Story

40% Parents Struggle to see Depression Signs in Kids: Study

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school, the study said

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In boys it is previous depressive symptoms which determine subsequent suicidal ideation. Pixabay

Telling the difference between a teen’s normal ups and downs or something bigger is among the top challenges parents face while identifying depression among the youth, says a new study.

Forty per cent of parents struggle to differentiate between normal mood swings and signs of depression, while 30 per cent are tricked as their child hides his/her feelings well, according to a new national poll in the US.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan, is based on responses from 819 parents with at least one child in middle school, junior high, or high school.

“In many families, the preteen and teen years bring dramatic changes both in youth behaviour and in the dynamic between parents and children,” said poll co-director Sarah Clark.

“These transitions can make it particularly challenging to get a read on children’s emotional state and whether there is possible depression,” Clark added.

According to the researchers, some parents might be overestimating their ability to recognise depression in the mood and behaviour of their own child.

An overconfident parent may fail to pick up on the subtle signals that something is amiss.

suicide, world, deaths, study
Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

The poll also suggests that the topic of depression is all too familiar for middle and high school students.

One in four parents say their child knows a peer or classmate with depression, and one in 10 say their child knows a peer or classmate who has died by suicide.

This level of familiarity with depression and suicide is consistent with recent statistics showing a dramatic increase in suicide among US youth over the past decade.

Rising rates of suicide highlight the importance of recognising depression in youth.

Also Read: Study Finds No Link Between Fish Oil and Prostrate Cancer

Compared to the ratings of their own ability, parents polled were also less confident that their preteens or teens would recognise depression in themselves.

“Parents should stay vigilant on spotting any signs of potential depression in kids, which may vary from sadness and isolation to anger, irritability and acting out,” said Clark.

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school, the study said. (IANS)