Probiotics for Gut Health May Help Ease Depression Symptoms

Scientists believe that gut health can impact mental health. A small pilot study published June 14 in JAMA Psychiatry posed the question: Can improving gut health ease depression?

The researchers found that people with major depressive disorder (MDD) who took probiotic supplements (containing beneficial bacteria) along with their antidepressant medication had greater improvements in their symptoms than those on placebo.

The findings of this pilot study are an important step in understanding the role of probiotics in mood and mental health, says the study’s first author, Viktoriya Nikolova, a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London.

“We observed strong effects across both depression and anxiety outcomes. The strongest effect was observed for anxiety scores, which suggests that probiotics may be most beneficial to people with MDD who also have anxiety — however, this finding needs to be verified in larger trials,” says Nikolova.

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