Microbiome Bites April 17th: A Probiotic Relieves Anxiety and the Microbiome May Help You Live Longer

Stress-relieving probiotic

1. This Strain of Probiotic Bacteria Treats and Protects Against Stress, Anxiety and Inflammation  

In a new study published in the journal BMC Medicine researchers have shown that the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 was able to protect mice against anxiety, social stress and inflammation.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 has previously been shown to cause changes in neurotransmitter levels in mice and have anti-anxiety, anti-depressant-like and anti-inflammatory effects.  

The research team fed mice the two billion CFU of the probiotic bacteria or a placebo for 28 days and assessed responses to stress, aggression and changes in the gut microbiome.

The probiotic only had an effect on mice showing symptoms of anxiety. Those without anxiety were not affected. This suggests that if the probiotic were to act the same way in humans, you would only see changes in mood and behavior in those with anxiety symptoms.

The study found that the bacteria works by interacting directly with the host (mouse), as opposed to affecting the bacteria present in the mouse’s gut.

This is especially interesting because it shows that exposure to a single bacterial strain can protect against stress-induced behaviors in spite of the enormous number and variety of bacteria present in the gut.

 

2. The Microbiome Might Affect How We Age

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing have found that older fish live longer when fed microbes from the gut microbiome of young fish.

The team took middle-aged fish and killed the microbes in their gut with antibiotics. Next they introduced the feces from younger fish into the tanks. The bacteria from the young fish made their way into the guts of the older fish.

The older fish that received the microbiomes of the younger fish lived on average 37% longer than fish that did not receive the microbiome.

This is a very early-stage study and the scientists don’t yet know why the fish live longer, however, a team in Canada is already doing a similar study with mice.

If the mouse study is successful, it won’t be long until human trials are underway.