Research News

Customer questions_635 COPY
Customer questions_636 COPY

Meta-analysis shows:


Probiotics effective in


mild depression

A meta-analysis of ten randomized controlled trials, including the Steenbergen trial with Ecologic® BARRIER, shows probiotics to be beneficial for individuals suffering from mild depression. 

Read more

Gut-brain communication

Mental disorders, depression in particular, are becoming a global epidemic. Worldwide, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.1 A variety of lifestyle and environmental changes may be responsible for the development of depression. One specific area of interest is the relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the brain. It is theorized that the gut microbiota and the intestinal barrier play a major role in the bidirectional communication with the brain.



Increasing evidence

Recent animals studies have shown probiotics to be able to regulate mood, emotional behaviour, cognition, and response to stress.2,3 A few human studies have also shown effects of probiotics on neural emotion reactivity in humans, however a causal understanding of the gut-brain link in emotion and cognition is lacking.4,5. As a result of the increasing amount of publications investigating the benefits of probiotics in mental disorders, reviews are being performed to draw conclusions about their efficacy.  A meta-analysis, including 10 randomized controlled trials, provides an update on the ability of probiotics to influence mood6. In this meta-analysis the Steenbergen trial with Ecologic® BARRIER was also included 7.

Summary of symposium My Little Microbes_1381

Read more about the Steenbergen trial with Ecologic® BARRIER 

Opportunities for mild depression

Whereas in a previous meta-analysis it was concluded that probiotic formulations in general have a positive psychological impact8, the newly performed meta-analysis came with more specific conclusions. A subgroup analysis, comparing studies conducted in healthy individuals versus individuals with major depressive disorders or mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression, revealed that probiotics significantly improved the mood of individuals with mild-moderate depressive symptoms, but had no statistically significant effect in healthy individuals.

This finding makes sense, as it is reasonable to expect that probiotics have a more beneficial effect in depressed individuals since there is greater room for improvement.



Bacterial viability

The authors also addressed the importance of the mode of delivery of the probiotics. It is well known that multispecies probiotics are more effective compared to monostrain probiotics, but besides the amount and type of bacteria, bacterial viability also plays an important role. Freeze-dried formulations have thus far been the preferred mode of delivery, as this processing technique preserves bacterial viability to the greatest extent 9. All the multispecies, freeze-dried formulations included in the meta-analysis showed a positive impact on mood (including the Steenbergen trial). Moreover, all probiotic formulations were well-tolerated with no adverse events reported by the 1349 patients collectively enrolled in the ten included studies. 



Read the scientific article 


1.       World Health Organization, 2017. Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates.  

2.       Cryan, J.F. et al, 2012. Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. Nature reviews. Neuroscience 13, 701-712.

3.       Smith, C.J. et al. 2014. Probiotics normalize the gutbrain-microbiota axis in immunodeficient mice. American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology 307, G793-802.

4.       Pinto-Sanchez, M. et al. 2017. Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: A Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology /

5.       Tillisch, K. et al. 2013. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology 144, 1394-1401, 1401 e1391-1394.

6.       NG C.Q. et al. 2018 .A meta-analysis of the use of probiotics to alleviate depressive symptoms. J Affect Disord. 1;228:13-19.

7.       Steenbergen, et al. 2015. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain, behavior, and immunity 48, 258-264  

8.       Huang, R. et al. 2016. Effect of probiotics on depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients 8 (8), 483.  

9.       Bolla, et al.  2011. Effect of freezedrying on viability and in vitro probiotic properties of a mixture of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts isolated from kefir. J. Dairy Res. 78 (1), 15–22.       










Meta-analysis shows potential for probiotics in depressed individuals

Klik op het menu voor inhoud en andere functies.

Gebruik de pijlen aan de zijkant om door het magazine te bladeren.
Loading ...