Nestle`-Backed Study Links Probiotic Strain and Depression

gut health probioticsA new study backed by Nestle` shows a specific strain of a probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum, helped relieve symptoms of depression as well as alleviating gastrointestinal upsets.

Over 40 adults who had experienced Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in addition to mild to moderate amounts of depression or anxiety participated in this study.   Half the group took a dose of Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) daily and the other half of the group took a placebo.  After six weeks researchers found 64% of the patients taking the probiotic experienced reductions in depression scores when compared to 32% of the participants taking the placebo.  Additionally functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), showed depression score improvements were associated with changes in multiple areas in the brain involved with mood control.  No changes were seen in anxiety scores however improvements in quality of life were seen in the group supplementing with the probiotic.

Although the results of this study are promising, larger scale trials are needed.



Omega-3 and Perinatal Depression

Omega-3 Peri Natal DepressionA new meta-analysis has found a critical role for Omega-3 in decreasing pre and post-natal depression (perinatal).  This meta-analysis also found cases of depression might be associated with a higher Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio.  This translates into a potential new way to treat perinatal depression (PND) because of Omega-3’s neuroplastic, anti-inflammatory and safety effects.

12 eligible studies which became available in December of 2016 were analyzed.  Researchers found a significant reduction in the total of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and a significant increase in the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios in the women who were experiencing PND.  Researchers concluded that the results of this meta-analysis emphasize how important Essential Fatty Acids are in clinical depression.  They pointed out that the brain is enriched with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids which regulate many biological processes like neuroinflammation, Neuroplasticity and neurotransmission and hence also regulate mood as well as cognitive function.  They further pointed out that both EPA and DHA and their benefits for reducing depression have been studied and recognized for many years, the imbalance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 as seen in this meta-analysis need to be examined more fully as a possible prediction of metal health in women during and after pregnancy.  Modern diets often show a profound imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, as much as 10-20:1.  Anthropological studies indicate humans evolved with a dietary ratio of Omega-6’s/Omega-3’s of 1:1.

Clinical trials are needed to test the therapeutic effects of Omega-3’s in the treatment of PND.


Could Probiotic Ease Depression? Mouse study suggests so…..

According to a new animal study using mice, Lactobacillus, a probiotic, could reverse symptoms of depression.  A combination of molecular and computational techniques as well as behavioral techniques were used to test the role these gut microbioata may play in behaviors associated with depression, since these disorders may run in families and the microbiome may be a causative agent or a factor of this disease.

Researchers using a mouse model looked for a biological process, which occurs in living organisms, which may influence mood.  Results of this study found a reduction in levels of Lactobacillus in mice under stress as well as increased levels of circulating Kynurenine levels, which is a form of inflammation that has been linked to depression and suicide risks.

By restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels improvements in abnormalities in behavior were seen.  Researchers did stress however that the symptoms that they identified in the mice are “depressive-like” behaviors.  It is hard to determine if the mice are actually experiencing depression since mice have no way of communicating their feelings.  Researchers do feel confident that the findings from this study may open new opportunities in the treatment of depression and other conditions like anxiety.

The researchers plan to begin studying the effects of Lactobacillus in people with depression in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), because MS sufferers often experience depression.


Curcumin Supplementation Shows Benefits For People With Severe Depression

Curcumin and DepressionA new study has found that daily supplementation with Curcumin may be effective in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms in people with major depressive disorders.

Over 100 people participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study.  All the participants had major depressive disorder.  Participants were given one of four treatment conditions: A placebo, a low-dose Curcumin Extract (250 MG), a high dose Curcumin Extract (500 MG), or a combined saffron (15 MG) plus low-dose Curcumin Extract (250 MG).  The study lasted 12 weeks.  The Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology self-rated version (IDS-SR30) and the Speilberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to measure results.

Participants supplementing with any form of the Curcumin Extract saw considerable improvements when compared to the placebo group.  No differences were seen between the different doses of Curcumin Extract or the combination of the Curcumin/Saffron.

Researchers believe that larger studies are needed.  They also believe the treatment duration needs to be longer.



(O)Mega Mood-Booster

Omega 3A new meta-analysis of existing research points to Omega-3 essential fatty acids and their ability to help alleviate depression.

13 studies with over 1200 participants were reviewed for this analysis.  Researchers found a significant depression reducing benefit for EPA (Eicosapantaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), the essential fatty acids that make up Omega-3’s.  The higher the doses of EPA the more beneficial were the effects in reducing depression.  The studies included participants who were taking antidepressant medications.

Almost 16 million adults over the age of 18, about 6.7% of all American adults, have had at least one major depressive episode.  According to the Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Future trials are needed to establish any possible interactions between EPA and antidepressants. These results may provide a target to improve the response of antidepressant medications.

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