Tag Archives: probiotics

Lactobacillus regulates emotional behaviour

A publication this month has shown that treatment with a strain of Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, found in yogurt & probiotics) lowered corticosterone levels (stress hormones) as well as anxiety- and stress-related behavior in mice. This research highlights the fact that there is a great deal of communication between the gut microbiota (bacteria population) and the central nervous system which has become popularly known as the gut-brain axis. Despite the mechanisms not being fully understood the implications are important. We know that stress has a direct effect of other bowel disorders such as irritable bowel and many types of inflammatory conditions (colitis). Our emotional health if often reflected in our gut health an this study helps to expand our current knowledge surrounding the gut-brain axis. May be we should be adding an antidepressant / antianxiety action to the growing list of positive effects probiotics are having on our health.

PNAS August 29, 2011: Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve

Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements: Pearls ICPearls KidsPearls YB


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Gut Bacteria Influence Statin Treatment Response

Bacteria that exist in our gut may affect how people respond to statins; medications used to control blood cholesterol levels. To date, doctors have not been able to properly explain why some patients on cholesterol-lowering medications respond well, while others don’t. Researchers have reported in the journalPLoS One that several bacterial-derived bile acids may be influencing how humans respond to statin treatment.

Follow the story here: Gut Bacteria Influence Statin Treatment Response.

Learn more about the effects of Probiotics here.

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Probiotics may beat surgical infection risk…

Use of Probiotics as Prophylaxis for Postoperative Infections

We hear a lot about hospital infections and the risk of surving a procedure only to be struck by some nasty oppertunistic bacterial infection a few days later. This can happen despite the use of preventative (prophylactic) antibiotics and there is growing worries that such wide-spread use of antibiotics in patients has contributed to the emergence of multiresistant bacteria.

New evidence is acculumating indicating a positive role for the use of probiotics to help correct the disrupted gut microflora that appears to occur after surgery, and in so doing help prevent post-operative infections. In surgical patients altered microflora in the gut are associated with altered gut barrier function leading to an enhanced inflammatory response to surgery. Several experimental and clinical studies have shown that probiotics (mainly lactobacilli) may reduce the number of potentially pathogenic bacteria and restore a deranged barrier function.

The question therefore arises; can probiotics can be utilized as a pre-operative prophylactic or by perioperative administration of probiotics in addition to antibiotics. To investigate this, fourteen randomized clinical trials were analysed in which the effect of such regimens has been tested. It seems that in patients undergoing liver transplantation or elective surgery in the upper gastrointestinal tract prophylactic administration of different probiotic strains in combination with different fibers results in a three-fold reduction in postoperative infections and a reduction in postoperative inflammation, although that has not been studied in a systematic way. However, the use of similar concepts in colorectal surgery has not been successful in reducing postoperative infections. Reasons for this difference are not obvious. It may be that higher doses of probiotics with longer duration are needed to influence microflora in the lower gastrointestinal tract or that immune function in colorectal patients may not be as important as in transplantation or surgery in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

The study authours commented that the favorable results for the use of prophylactic probiotics in some settings warrant further controlled studies to discover potential mechanisms, impact on gut microbiota and influence on clinical management.

Learn more about probiotics here: www.pearlslife.eu

Key article: Jeppsson B, Mangell P, Thorlacius H. Use of Probiotics as Prophylaxis for Postoperative Infections. Nutrients 2011, 3, 604-612; doi:10.3390/nu3050604

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Bacteria, bowels, brain and behaviour… there is connection!

The connection between brain and body is an ever growing area for research. New work just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has highlighted the importance of the gut in brain development. The researchers were working on the established knowledge that the microbial colonization of mammals is an evolution-driven process that influences the hosts physiology, many of which are associated with immunity and nutrient intake. The current study reports that colonization by gut microbiota impacts mammalian brain development and subsequent adult behavior. Using measures of motor activity and anxiety-like behaviour, the team demonstrated that germ free (GF) mice display increased motor activity and reduced anxiety, compared with specific pathogen free (SPF) mice with a normal gut microbiota. This behavioural characteristic is associated with altered expression of genes known to be involved with the developmental pathways implicated in motor control and anxiety-like behavior. GF mice exposed to gut microbiota early in life display similar characteristics as SPF mice. Hence, our results suggest that the microbial colonization process initiates signalling mechanisms that affect neuronal circuits involved in motor control and anxiety behavior.
This impressive work and may open the doors to the help explain how probiotic use has been associated with improved mood and behaviour in children suffering from ADAD and related behavioural issues. Its early days but this research has advanced the science closer towards a clinical application in the future.
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