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AndrewATedDGerCJohnC2015wThe probiotic  Bifidobacterium longum 1714 may help reduce stress and improve memory according to a small study of healthy men presented at  Neuroscience 2015, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago.

The APC Microbiome Institute researchers had previously shown that the bacterial strain Bifidobacterium longum 1714 reduced stress, anxiety, and depressive-like behaviours and improved memory in mice. To see whether the strain would have similar effects in humans, the researchers had 22 healthy male volunteers take the probiotic strain daily for four weeks and a placebo for another four weeks.

At the start of the study and after each of the four-week conditions, researchers measured the participants’ acute stress, memory, and brain activity. The participants also rated their daily stress on a questionnaire throughout the study. The researchers found that both perceived daily stress and physiological reaction to an acute stressor were reduced in the probiotic condition. Participants also performed better on a visual memory task after receiving the probiotic. These findings suggest this Bifidobacterium longum 1714 strain may prove to be a useful probiotic for alleviating stress-related conditions, although additional studies with more participants are needed.
“This research shows a single probiotic can alter central nervous system processes such as stress and memory in humans,” said lead author Andrew Allen, PhD, of the APC Microbiome Institute . “These findings could be taken forward into people with psychological disorders related to stress, such as generalized anxiety disorder or major depression.”

Research was supported with funds from  Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, and the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme.

19 October 2015

Photo Left to right: Andrew Allen, Ted Dinan, Gerard Clarke & John Cryan