Yogurt Probiotic Shows Promise for Depressive Symptoms

Lactobacillus, a probiotic bacteria found in live-culture yogurt, appears to reverse symptoms of depression in mice, new research shows. In addition, investigators have discovered a specific mechanism suggesting a direct link between the health of the gut microbiome and mental health.

In a recognised preclinical model of depression, investigators examined the gut microbiome of mice before and after they were exposed to chronic stress. The major change they found was a loss of Lactobacillus and an increase in circulating levels of kynurenine metabolites, which are known to drive depression. With the loss of Lactobacillus came the onset of depressive symptoms. But after supplementation with L reuteri to restore Lactobacillus, kynurenine metabolism normalised, and so did the animals' behaviour.

"A single strain of Lactobacillus is able to influence mood," lead investigator Alban Gaultier, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, said in a release.
"The big hope for this kind of research is that we won't need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health ― and your mood,"
he said.

- Medscape online

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