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Can Stress and Anxiety Be Reduced With Probiotics?

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  • Anxiety affects one in 13 people and stress affects 6 in 10 people.
  • Probiotics are microorganisms which help in gut health.
  • Recent research shows that probiotics lower the levels of stress and anxiety.

Can Stress and Anxiety Be Reduced With Probiotics?

Yes, including probiotics in the diet helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Probiotics Influence On Central Nervous System

To get a better understanding on how probiotics affect central nervous system in humans, it's necessary to first study the behavior of gut bacteria in zebrafish.


A common bacteria called Lactobacillus plantarum present in yogurt and probiotic supplements were given to test the gut bacteria in zebrafish.

Introducing Environmental Stresses

Lactobacillus plantarum, a common bacteria found in yogurt was induced into zebrafish and was later tested by the researchers.

Scientists in the first study added bacteria into certain tanks of hosuing zebrafish and none received probiotics in the other tanks.

The researchers introduced environmental stressors to both groups, such as draining small amounts of water from the tank and overcrowding.

"These are common environmental stress patterns, such as isolation stress and temperature change, so it made the tests relevant to humans as well" said Bryda.

Stress and Anxiety Reduced with Probiotics The behavioral responses of fish were tested by measuring the genes related to stress and anxiety.

"Essentially, bacteria in the gut altered the gene expression associated with stress- and anxiety-related pathways in the fish allowing for increased signaling of particular neurotransmitters," said Davis.

The movements of fish in the tanks were measured using advanced computer measuring and imaging tools.

Previous studies of fish behavior found that stressed out fishes tend to spend more time at the bottom of the tanks.

In the current study administration of probiotics into fish tanks,enabled the fishes to spend more time on the top of the tanks. The change in the fish behavior indicated that they were less stressed or anxious.

"Using zebrafish, we've developed a relatively inexpensive platform for testing of other species of bacteria and probiotics and their potential benefit on different systems of the body," said Ericsson as published in the Journal of Nature's Scientific Reports.

Are You feeling Stressed?

Stress occurs as a result of mental or emotional strain. About 44% of the population in the U.S, 41% of population in U.K and 50% of India's population are found to be stressed.

Common signs of stress include:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory problems
  • Eating more or less food
  • Disturbance of sleep
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Moodiness, irritability and anger
Are You Feeling Anxious?

Anxiety is feeling worried and being nervous. Anxiety Disorders affect 40 million (18.1%) people in the U.S, 3 million people in U.K (6.6%) and 313 million (25%) people in India.

Common signs of anxiety include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent urination
How to Handle Stress and Anxiety?

Stress and anxiety can be relieved by connecting with people, have a time to relax, have a healthy and balanced diet, to exercise regularly and to get good night's sleep.

Probiotic Rich Sources

  • Yogurt
  • Tempeh
  • Cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Miso

  • Source: Medindia

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