New Research Explores How Probiotics Can Impact Depression

Symptoms of depression can be debilitating. They include apathy, guilt, hopelessness, changes in body weight, insomnia, and irritability. While these symptoms tend to be the primary focus of treatment, there’s also a long list of cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, and memory issues.

A new study shows that a popular supplement may help with the cognitive issues associated with depression. This randomized controlled trial including over 40 patients showed that high-dose probiotic supplementation for four weeks significantly enhanced memory and affected brain mechanisms underlying depression-based cognitive issues.

Results showed that people in the probiotic group have improved hippocampal function (the part of the brain in charge of emotion and memory) at the end of the study period.

As lead author Else Schneider, Ph.D., explained in an interview: “It supports our hypothesis that the hippocampus is the main structure that benefits from probiotics, and that’s why we only see improvement in the episodic memory and not in other cognitive domains, which are less hippocampus-dependent.”

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