– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – If you suffer from anxiety, new research has suggested that changing your diet and taking a probiotic may help alleviate your symptoms.
A review of studies published in the journal General Psychiatry revealed that boosting microorganisms in the gut using probiotic and non-probiotic food and supplements can help regulate brain function.
Bacteria in the gut perform important functions in the immune system and metabolism by providing essential inflammatory mediators, nutrients and vitamins.
A team of researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine set out to investigate if there was evidence to support improvement of anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota.
They reviewed 21 studies that had looked at 1,503 people collectively, and found that probiotic supplements had a positive effect on anxiety symptoms.
And in the non-probiotic studies where participants simply changed their diets to improve gut bacteria, there was a reported 86 per cent rate of effectiveness.
The researchers concluded that while it was proven taking a supplement helped those who suffered with anxiety, they stressed it was preferable to also change your diet too.
“We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of intestinal microbiota… it should be highlighted that the non-probiotic interventions were more effective than the probiotic interventions,” they wrote.
They also suggested that in addition to the use of drugs to treat the debilitating condition, “we can also consider regulating intestinal flora to alleviate anxiety symptoms”.