Stress can be a problem both for home caregivers and for those in their care. Many studies have shown that stress can have significantly negative consequences, so home caregivers and others in potentially high-stress situations are often advised to master techniques for managing stress. Now a new study indicates that consumption of probiotics may actually be beneficial in this regard.
Published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, this study is entitled “Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish.” The scientists involved confirm that previous studies have found a link between the neurological issues created by stress and gastrointestinal issues. Most stress management programs focus on the neurological aspect; these researchers conducted this experiment to determine if focusing on the “gut” issues might be an alternative or complementary way of treating stress.
This is a pre-clinical trial, so it used animals — in this case zebrafish — to test the proof of principle. The bacteria lactobacillus plantarum, which is commonly found in probiotics, was introduced into the aquariums of some zebrafish but was excluded from the aquariums of others. The stressors (situations which have been previously shown to create stress in zebrafish, such as overcrowding) were added to all the aquariums.
Overall, the fish that had been given access to the probiotics were better able to handle the situations and showed fewer signs of stress.
Probiotics are the living cultures found in yogurt and other foods and are considered among the “good” bacteria. They have previously been shown to be beneficial in a number of areas, such as digestion and skin care.
The body produces probiotics naturally, but often these need to be supplemented via dietary means.
This initial pre-clinical study does not provide proof positive that probiotics would have the same effect in humans as they do in zebrafish. However, because probiotics are generally beneficial, home caregivers may want to consider adding them to their array of stress management weapons. (As always, consider checking with a doctor first before making any major dietary changes.)