Clinically shown to improve the ability to cope with stress and reduce anxiety
The gut microbiome plays a key role in gut-brain communication, via the gut-brain-axis1, 2. For example, the gut microbiota produces:
- Short chain fatty acids which may increase the integrity of the blood brain barrier, limiting undesirable metabolites reaching the brain1.
- Other compounds, such as lipoproteins and lipopolysaccharides, which may stimulate the release of cytokines from immune cells. These cross the blood brain barrier and activate neurons which influence neurological function, mood and behaviour1
The gut microbiota influences the stress response through these systems. Conversely, stress may change the composition of the gut microbiota2.
Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated that targeting the gut microbiota with specific probiotic supplements can alleviate stress, anxiety and cortisol output, and modulate neural processing in response to stress3, 4. These cognitive effects may have broader applications than clinical practice, including potential benefits in sports performance5.
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