A Probiotic/Prebiotic Combination Reduces Behavioral Symptoms Associated With Stress

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A synbiotic (a probiotic plus a prebiotic) can reduce behavioral symptoms associated with stress by normalizing the populations of microorganisms in the gut and changing immune cell activity, according to a new study in animals from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York. The study was published in Frontiers in Immunology and supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements through the NIH Consortium for Advancing Research on Botanical and Other Natural Products (CARBON) Program.


The gut-brain axis refers to the bidirectional communication between the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Gut microbiota has been shown to influence these interactions. Previous research has also shown that substances that change the community of microorganisms (the microbiota) in the intestines can reduce behavioral symptoms associated with stress. These substances include probiotics (live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body) and prebiotics (nondigestible food components that selectively stimulate the growth or activity of desirable microorganisms). How probiotics and prebiotics produce effects in the body is not well understood, but it may involve changes in inflammation and immune responses associated with changes in the gut microbiota.


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