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A new study published June 14 in JAMA Psychiatry Found evidence that supplementing the diet with a probiotic blend containing 14 strains of bacteria can help individuals being treated for major depressive disorder with antidepressants. The research, led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London and in partnership with ADM Protexin, which is part of ADM, demonstrated the potential of probiotic supplementation to support improvements in multiple depression and anxiety scores over an eight week period.
The pilot study is one of the first in the West to show good tolerance of probiotics and positive effects on mental health in depressed adults currently taking antidepressants. According to the researchers leading the study, the findings provide a strong basis for further investigation of the benefits of a probiotic supplement for mood and mental health support in a larger trial.
There is growing evidence that the gut microbiota (the vast and dynamic community of microorganisms that live in the gut) has a role to play in regulating mood. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study designed as a preliminary exploration of whether improving gut health through the use of probiotics — nutritional supplements containing beneficial bacteria — could serve as a new pathway to support mood and mental health.
In this pilot trial, 49 adults with major depressive disorder with an incomplete response to prescription antidepressants were provided with a widely available 14-strain blend probiotic supplement or a matched placebo (24 Receive the probiotics). Over the course of eight weeks, both groups showed improvement in their symptoms, but greater improvement was seen in the probiotic group from week four onwards. Significant reported improvements were seen, measured against the gold standard rating scales for depression and anxiety.
Professor James Stone, the study’s senior investigator who began the work on King’s IoPPN and is now at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said, “Non-or partial response to antidepressants is a significant problem and this study is an important first step in exploring the therapeutic potential of probiotics as a treatment for depression.” “We found probiotics to be an acceptable and acceptable supplement in people already taking antidepressant medications. This now paves the way for studies looking at whether we see these beneficial effects of probiotics on depression and anxiety in a larger population of patients.”
Dr. Viktoria Nikolova, first author of the study from King’s IoPPN, said, “The gut axis is a truly fascinating and rapidly evolving area of microbiome research. The results of this pilot study are an important step forward in our understanding of the role of probiotics in mood and mental health.”
Dr. Richard Day, Vice Chief Medical Officer at ADM, said, “According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 5% of adults suffer from depression, with a large number failing to respond completely to standard treatment options. This trial is one of only a handful of clinical studies.” To evaluate the benefits of supplementing the diet with probiotics alongside standard-of-care antidepressant medications.These exciting findings add to our understanding of the link between the gut microbiome and mental health.”
Acceptability, tolerability, and estimates of putative treatment effects of probiotics as adjunctive therapy in depressed patients: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.1817
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