UVA Study: Probiotic in Yogurt Can Reverse Depression SymptomsPosted: Updated:
Researchers at the University of Virginia believe they have discovered a direct link between bacteria in the gut and mental health.
A lab experiment being conducted at the UVA School of Medicine noticed levels of Lactobacillus dropped in mice exposed to stress.
The researchers believe the amount of Lactobacillus in the gut affects the level of a metabolite in the blood called kynurenine, which studies have shown to drive depression. When Lactobacillus was diminished in the gut, the levels of kynurenine went up, and depression symptoms set in.
Researchers say stress levels returned to normal in the mice returned after they ate something with Lactobacillus, which is a probiotic bacteria found in live-cultures yogurt.
As a result of their findings, the researchers are speculating that simply eating yogurt could influence mood and ease mental disorders.
"The cure and treatment that are in use for depression are OK, but they come with a lot of side effect. So it's time to come up with better treatment, and when you think about it, just eating something is way simpler than a taking pill," said researcher Alban Gaultier.
Researchers say there is potential to replicate the same results in humans. They hope that their findings could offer an alternative way to treat depression, stress, and anxiety disorders.
Editors note: A previous version of this story said stess levels returned, in place of stress levels returned to normal.
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