New Evidence Shows Probiotics Could Help Fight Depression
It’s no secret that eating yogurt can increase your calcium intake and help keep you regular. But new research has found it may even help boost your mood.
Scientists from the Netherlands’ Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition have discovered that probiotics, the live microorganism commonly found in yogurt, can reduce feelings of depression.
In the small study, researchers asked 40 healthy participants to mix a powder containing either two grams of probiotics or a placebo with warm water or milk every day for four weeks. Participants also answered a questionnaire that measured their likelihood of experiencing depressive thoughts before the experiment began and after the four weeks was over. Researchers discovered that those who took the probiotic powder showed a significant reduction in negative thoughts, especially ones that were aggressive or ruminative.
Lead researcher Laura Steenbergen tells Yahoo Health her team is surprised by the findings and excited about what they could mean for the future of preventing depression. “Ruminative thoughts are most important in predicting the onset and development of depression,” she says. “This makes the effect of probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood a promising finding.”
Probiotics have long been proven to promote the population of “good” bacteria in the gut, keeping your digestive tract balanced and working right. While research on the role probiotics plays on mood is still relatively new, other studies have shown that there is steady communication between your gut and your brain.
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