Reference Number: 534
Lactic Acid Bacteria: Prevalence
Patients suffering from depression experience significant mood, anxiety, and cognitive symptoms. Currently, most antidepressants work by altering neurotransmitter activity in the brain to improve these symptoms. However, in the last decade, research has revealed an extensive bidirectional communication network between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, referred to as the “gut–brain axis.” Advances in this field have linked psychiatric disorders to changes in the microbiome, making it a potential target for novel antidepressant treatments. The aim of this review is to analyze the current body of research assessing the effects of probiotics, on symptoms of depression in humans.
A systematic search of five databases was performed and study selection was completed using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses process.
Ten studies met criteria and were analyzed for effects on mood, anxiety, and cognition. Five studies assessed mood symptoms, seven studies assessed anxiety symptoms, and three studies assessed cognition. The majority of the studies found positive results on all measures of depressive symptoms; however, the strain of probiotic, the dosing, and duration of treatment varied widely and no studies assessed sleep.
The evidence for probiotics alleviating depressive symptoms is compelling but additional double-blind randomized control trials in clinical populations are warranted to further assess efficacy.
Significance of this study to the baker:
One of our 7 core principles here at the Sourdough School & Club is to increase the probiotics in our bakes. This study highlights the great interest scientists now have for the communication between the gut and our brain. Beneficial gut microbes may improve depression in a number of ways: through decreasing inflammation and playing a role in enhancing the production of our happy brain chemical, serotonin. An example of such a gut microbe is the species, Bifidobacterium. As the paper suggests, whilst the evidence is good, it may not be quite precise enough yet to use probiotics to treat depression. It does however, make a good enough reason for us as bakers to include probiotic food sources in our bakes. You may like to try our Cultured Butter & Buttermilk or our Cultured Anchovy Butter recipes!