Regulating Gut Bacteria May Help Treat Anxiety

You may help people who are experiencing anxiety symptoms by taking steps to regulate microorganisms found in their gut with the use of probiotic and non-probiotic foods and supplements. This is according to a review of studies published in the journal General Psychiatry.

Gut Bacteria

Gut Bacteria

Case study

Anxiety symptoms are popular among people with mental diseases and various physical disorders, especially stress-related disorders. Researchers revealed anxiety symptoms affected 1/3 of people in their lifetime.

Research has increasingly indicated that gut microbiota helps regulate brain functions through the gut-brain axis. Microbiota are trillions of microorganisms found in the gut. They carry out important functions in metabolism and in the immune system. They do so by providing essential nutrients, inflammatory mediators and vitamins.

Researchers suggested regulating intestinal microbiota can treat mental disorders.

A research team from the Shanghai Mental Health Center decided to investigate whether there was evidence supporting the improvement of anxiety symptoms through regulating intestinal microbiota.

The team reviewed 21 studies which had taken a look at 1,503 people combined. Out of those 21 studies, 14 had chosen probiotics as interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota (IRIFs). The remaining 7 chose non-probiotic means like adjusting the daily diet.

Probiotics, also called “good” bacteria or “friendly” bacteria, are living organisms that are found naturally in foods. They fight harmful bacteria and prevent them from setting in the gut.

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