Stress and anxiety are two of the most common psychiatric disorders in the world. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, long-term stress can be lead to serious health problems high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and mental health problems such as depression.
A study out of the University of Missouri published in Scientific Reports, a journal of Nature determined that a common probiotic found in yogurt and many probiotic supplements could lead to a reduction in stress-related behavior and anxiety.
Using a zebrafish model, the researchers performed a series of studies and tested how the zebrafish behaved after doses of Lactobacillus plantarum were administered. The scientists found that the zebrafish that received the supplements showed a reduction in the metabolic pathways associated stress-related behavior.
Additionally, the movements of the fish in their tanks were measured to further test the research team’s theory. Previous studies have found that stressed out fish spend more time near the bottom of their tanks. The fish that were given probiotics spent more time toward the top of their tanks, a behavior indicating they were less stressed or anxious.
The scientists believed that this model can be used to test other species of bacteria and the potential benefit of probiotics on other body systems.