It’s the Journey Not the Destination
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Probiotics for Depression
Feeling blue? A new study from the Netherlands suggests that a daily probiotic might help perk you up and banish negative thinking related to depression. Researchers at Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition investigated the impact of a daily dose of probiotics in a randomized trial including on 40 healthy young people. Before the study began, they tested all the participants to gauge the likelihood that any of them would have depressive thoughts. They also repeated the test after the clinical trial ended. Half the group took a placebo while the others received a probiotic that mixed eight different types of friendly bacteria including specific strains earlier research suggested could counter symptoms of anxiety and depression. When the study ended, the researchers found that the participants who had been taking the probiotic were significantly less reactive to sad thoughts – particularly the aggressive or ruminative types associated with depression – than those in the placebo group. The study didn’t determine how probiotics worked to make the difference, and the researchers characterized their results as “preliminary.” Nevertheless, this investigation presents the first clinical evidence that probiotics can help reduce negative thoughts related to depressed moods.