http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/science/study-probiotics-reduce-stress-and-anxiety/article/480838

Study: Probiotics reduce stress and anxiety

Posted Dec 2, 2016 by Tim Sandle
A study on animals suggests that increased knowledge about gut health could lead to the use of probiotics to alter the microorganisms of the gut and modulate behavioral responses to stress.
A man overwhelmed by work
A man overwhelmed by work
Via B2B News Network
The research is at an early stage and studies so far have been undertaken with zebrafish (a standard research model). The aim of the study was to determine if probiotics, that alter the microbial content, could be used in a way that affects the nervous system. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits.
The long-term aim is to develop a probiotic that might aid people suffering with high levels of stress or anxiety. To get to this stage will require considerably more research and testing.
With the studies to date, University of Missouri biologists have examined zebrafish, and from this found an indication that a common probiotic (used for supplements and yogurt) might be able to decrease stress-related behavior and anxiety. Zebrafish have commonly been used for the screening of new drugs and they are also used for neurobehavioral studies.
This is based on alterations to the gut bacteria. The researchers examined how zebrafish behaved after doses of Lactobacillus plantarum. This is a bacteria often used with yogurt and probiotic supplements.
For the research, the scientists added the organisms to water tanks containing zebrafish. Control tanks were used housing zebrafish where no probiotics were added. To stimulate stress, the researchers altered the environment by draining small amounts of water from the tank and adding more fish to create overcrowding. Tests to assess stress were run, which were mainly observational studies.
Following this the gene pathways of the zebrafish were examined. Here it was observed that the zebrafish given the probiotic showed a reduction in the metabolic pathways associated with stress.
This gives the researchers a starting point to look at other animal models. If the results are verified then trial could be established using human volunteers.
The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study is titled “Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish.”