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New Research: Unique Probiotic Strain May Reduce Depression in IBS Patients
By Jen Morganti, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

The most up-to-date research has revealed an important connection between the gut and brain, leading to new approaches for treating cognitive and mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. The lining of the gut houses the "enteric nervous system", which reacts to emotions like stress. When the "microbiome", the healthy bacterial environment of the GI, is not balanced it can influence the brain.

A recent study evaluated the effect of the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum on symptoms of depression in patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder with varying symptoms, such as constipation and/or diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and gas. The causes are unknown, but some integrative physicians believe it is related to an imbalance of the GI microbiome, food allergies, or possibly increased stress. Some patients with IBS find relief by taking fiber, enzymes, probiotics, and/or eliminating potentially reactive foods from their diet.

In this 2017 study, patients with co-existing mild to moderate depression or anxiety took either the probiotic or placebo over a 10-week period. By the 6-week mark, 64% of the patients taking the probiotic had decreased symptoms of depression, whereas only 32% of the group taking the placebo experienced depression relief. There was not a significant improvement in anxiety symptoms.

Researchers involved in the study said "This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS patients. This opens up new avenues, not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders, but also for patients with primary psychiatric diseases…This is the result of a decade long journey— from identifying the probiotic, testing it in preclinical models, and investigating the pathways through which the signals from the gut reach the brain...The results of this pilot study are very promising, but they have to be confirmed in a future, large-scale trial".

Many adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also struggle with issues like depression, but there are natural options such as probiotics that can help support your gut health, improve mood, and help impede depression symptoms. Studies have suggested that the gutbrain connection plays an important role in your overall health, so support the intricate link between your gut-brain connection with probiotics!

Pinto-Sanchez, Maria Ines et al. Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: a Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gastroenterology , Volume 0 , Issue 0. S0016-5085(17)35557-9/pdf. May 31, 2017 in Home, Home Slider, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Probiotics.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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