Probiotic Bacteria and Depression

Depression Latest Research


Probiotic Bacteria May Help Cure Depression

A collaborative study from the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Ireland, and McMaster University in Canada has shown that probiotic bacteria  may prove useful in treating depression and anxiety-related disorders.

Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria and are often available in supplement form, as well as in certain foods such as yogurt.  In the study, mice consuming a diet that included a bacterial strain called  Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety, and depression-related behaviors than those that ate only broth. They also produced less corticosterone, a hormone that the body expresses in response to stress.

John F. Cryan, PhD, senior author on the study, says,  “These findings up the intriguing opportunity of developing unique microbial-based strategies for treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression.”

This is the first time researchers have been able to show that regularly feeding mice with a probiotic can directly change their brain chemistry. The study also established that the vagus nerve, an extremely long cranial nerve that extends from the brain to the abdomen, is the main relay between the gut, the bacteria in it, and the brain. This three-way communication system is called the microbiome-gut-brain axis.