Food and Behaviour Research

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15 June 2015 - Nutraingredients - Probiotic Bifidobacteria may boost cognition in anxious mice: Study

by Stephen Daniells

Select strains of Bifidobacteria may positively impact cognition in anxious lab animals, says a new study from Ireland that deepens our understanding of the gut-brain axis.


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The researchers have previously reported that Bifidobacterium longum 1714 and B. breve 1205 may decrease anxiety in lab mice, and they take that research further in their new study with data showing strain specific effects

“In the present study, we show that certain Bifidobacteria strains and B. longum 1714 in particular, are able to induce some positive effects on cognition in fear-related cognitive tasks, possibly by decreasing anxiety in mice,” they wrote in Behavioural Brain Research .

“To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies showing that commensal bacteria can benefit cognition in healthy animals (i.e. without previous physiological intervention such as gut bacterial infection or stress event).”

Gut-brain axis

Data from animal and human studies have suggested that probiotics may exert anti-anxiety benefits, and a recent review published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment by Linghong Zhou and Jane Foster from McMaster University in Canada Using said that probiotics and prebiotics may alter the gut microbiota and influence the gut-brain axis to possibly open up new ways of influencing neuropsychological conditions.

As reported last week on NutraIngredients-USA , increased intakes of fermented foods were reported to be associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety, particularly for people at higher genetic risk. That study, which was published in Psychiatry Research was said to be the first report connecting the consumption of natural fermented foods and anxiety.