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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Could YOGURT Help Beat Depression?

Probiotics 'reduce the negative thoughts that can spiral into mental illness'

  • Those who took probiotic supplements were less prone to rumination
  • Rumination is the type of obsessive thinking that can turn into depression
  • The probiotics - found in live yogurt - were taken as a supplement

Boosting the friendly bacteria in our gut could help our minds too, according to a study.
Researchers found that adding the types of probiotics found in live yogurt to our diets could help lower the risk of depression by reducing negative thoughts.
The scientists, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, said those who took the supplements for four weeks were significantly less reactive to sad moods than those who took a dummy supplement.

They were far less prone to rumination - the type of obsessive thinking that can turn into depression - and had fewer aggressive thoughts.
‘Studies have shown that the tendency to engage in ruminative thoughts is sufficient to turn mood fluctuations into depressive episodes, and that individuals who typically respond to low mood by ruminating about possible causes and consequences of their state have more difficulties in recovering from depression,’ the researchers wrote in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.

‘The present results indicate, for the first time, that probiotics intervention can influence cognitive mechanisms that are known to determine vulnerability to mood disorders.’
They concluded: ‘These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood.

‘Probiotics supplementation warrants further research as a potential preventive strategy for depression.’
For the study, the researchers recruited 40 healthy men and women and randomly divided them into two groups of 20.
Those in the first group were given sachets of a probiotic powder containing Lactobacillus, Lactococcus and Bifidobacterium strains to take every day for four weeks, while the others were given sachets of a placebo.
Both powders were identical in colour, taste and smell - the only difference was that the placebo powder contained no bacteria.

At the beginning of the study and at the end of the four weeks, all of the men and women filled out a detailed questionnaire which psychologists use to assess a person’s susceptibility to depression.
‘Compared to participants who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the 4-week multispecies probiotics intervention showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts,’ the researchers said.

Although this study was not testing specific biological mechanisms that could underlie probiotics’ effects on the brain, previous research has found that gut bacteria can affect our levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. 
It’s thought that an imbalance of serotonin can contribute to depression.

Probiotics found in live yogurt can help lower the risk of depression by reducing negative thoughts


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