Groundbreaking study and health warning
The new trend: probiotics and mental health
Recently, the term “microbiome” has received a lot of attention in the wellness world. It’s hard to scroll through health-related websites without coming across articles about probiotics.
As a team of scientists, we usually discuss our results in peer-reviewed journals. However, given the high level of interest, we have decided to publish our latest research and an important health warning.
The study and its implications
We are a team of psychiatrists and neuroscientists at the University Clinic for Psychiatry Basel in Switzerland.
We recently conducted groundbreaking research into the use of probiotics in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
The work was done by Dr. André Schmidt, a psychiatrist, and Professor Claudio De Simone, a gastroenterologist, who developed the probiotic formulation used in the study.
In our study, a probiotic formulation was added to the treatment of people with clinical depression. The aim was to improve the intestinal flora and reduce depressive symptoms.
We detailed our findings in the article “Effects of add-on probiotic treatment on frontolimbic brain structure, function, and perfusion in depression: Secondary neuroimaging and results from a randomized controlled trial.”
How we did the research
All study participants were taking antidepressants. We gave half of them a probiotic supplement and the other half a placebo.
None of the participants or study staff knew who was receiving probiotics or placebo. We measured depressive symptoms using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D).
We performed clinical examinations and MRI scans before and after the four-week intervention. We also followed up clinical data four weeks after the end of the intervention.
what did we find The participants who took the probiotics showed signs of preserved structural integrity in their brains and fewer signs of neurodegeneration.
In addition, the probiotics altered the function of the frontolimbic brain regions, an area associated with depression. Some of the imaging findings were associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms.
We believe this suggests that probiotics may protect against neuronal degeneration and alter frontolimbic function, resulting in alleviation of depressive symptoms.
How did the probiotics work?
Professor De Simone, the inventor of the probiotic formulation we use, explains that the benefits are not just down to the specific strains of bacteria in the product.
The unique biochemical and immunological enzyme profile resulting from the manufacturing and mixing method of the formulation also played a role.
He adds that the results obtained with a specific probiotic formulation cannot be extrapolated to other products, even if they contain genetically identical strains.
Different proprietary production methods make the difference. Therefore, using a probiotic without first adapting it to the condition may not produce the desired results and could even harm vulnerable patients.
Safety recommendations for probiotics
The US-based International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) recently published their recommendations for the use of probiotics in clinical management.
Her article “Emerging issues in probiotic security: 2023 perspectives” in the Journal of Gut Microbes emphasizes that while probiotics are generally safe for healthy people, they can occasionally cause adverse events in vulnerable groups.
Although our study results are promising, further investigation is needed. dr Schmidt believes that an additional MRI follow-up could help uncover more obvious changes in relevant brain regions.
We, the Basel team, recognize that mental health is a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being.
We are committed to doing more research and offering healing pathways in this important area. After all, mental illnesses are common and treatable.
If you are interested in depression, please read studies about it how dairy products can affect depression risk, And B vitamins may help prevent depression and anxiety.
Further information on the subject of health can be found in current studies Highly processed foods can make you feel depressed. And Extra virgin olive oil may ease symptoms of depression.
The study was published in the Journal of Mood Disorders.
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