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Probiotics Modulate Brain Activity

New study shows improvement in emotional regulation from using Probiotics!

Probiotics can modulate brain activity

Probiotics are simply friendly bacteria that can improve the microbial environment in our gut without causing any  harm. Humans unknowingly discovered the power of fermented milk thousands years ago, ever since we domesticated animals and learnt to drink their milk.  According to one article fermented milks probably originated in the Middle East before the Phoenician era. The Old Testament mentions that fermented cream existed in Mesopotamia in c. 1300 BC.  Fermented milks are widely used in many cultures across Asia and Eastern Europe.  In the west it is mostly consumed as yoghurt.

The grandfather of probiotics is Ilya Mechnikov, a Nobel Prize winning microbiologist, who in the beginning of the 20th century was one of the first to describe the bacteria that causes milk fermentation.  He also proposed that it could be beneficial to use these friendly bacteria to improve our gut and fight the bad microbes that make us sick. Since then many scientists have worked on researching bacteria and its use for improving health.

There were claims that probiotics can affect the so called brain-gut relationship.  Scientists did observe this effect in rodents (laboratory rats). But this was not proven to be a fact in humans. The first study that has now been published is showing that consumption of fermented milks can improve brain health and emotional regulation specifically. Using functional MRI researchers found that women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yoghurt showed altered activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.  This study is unique because it is the first to show an interaction between a probiotic and the brain in humans.  This study was lead by author Kirsten Tillisch, MD, associate professor, Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles.  Report – Medscape Medical News.

By Rustam Yumash

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