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Probiotics in pregnancy for anxiety and depression: a pilot randomized controlled trial

 

Maternal prenatal depression or anxiety are risk factors for adverse health and behaviour outcomes in offspring. With prevalence rates of prenatal depression or anxiety ranging between 10-20%, attempts to identify feasible and effective interventions to reduce symptoms are a priority in the prenatal care and clinical setting. 

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In an ongoing pilot study (N=40) the feasibility of a probiotic food supplement intervention in pregnant women is evaluated, as an adjuvant therapy to reduce prenatal depression and anxiety. This study is based on the fact that there are indications that probiotics, as a food supplement, can improve mental well-being by improving the intestinal microbiota. Indeed, several human clinical studies in non-pregnant populations demonstrated that ingestion of a probiotic mixture can decrease levels of anxiety and depression in humans (Benton, 2007; Messaoudi et al., 2011; Rao et al., 2009). Additionally, the probiotic mixture used in this study, Ecologic® Barrier, has been shown to significantly reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood in healthy adults (Steenbergen et al, 2015).

 

 

Three general pathways have been described on how the gut microbiota influences anxiety and depression via the microbiome-brain axis: through low-grade inflammation, neurotransmitter signaling, and the HPA-axis (Ait-Belgnaoui et al., 2012; Janik et al., 2016; Maes, 2011). Probiotics, with their anti-inflammatory and neuroregulatory properties, may improve the intestinal microbiota in pregnant mothers, and consequently their mood. Additionally, prenatal ingestion of probiotics by mothers may improve their vaginal microbiota, which may in turn positively influence their offspring’s developing microbiota (Tillisch et al., 2013; VandeVusse et al., 2013).

 

'Probiotics, with their anti-inflammatory and neuroregulatory properties, may improve the intestinal microbiota in pregnant mothers, and consequently their mood.' 

 

 

References

 

Ait-Belgnaoui, A., Durand, H., Cartier, C., Chaumaz, G., Eutamene, H., Ferrier, L., ... Theodorou, V. (2012). Prevention of gut leakiness by a probiotic treatment leads to attenuated HPA response to an acute psychological stress in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(11), 1885–95. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.03.024

 

Benton, D., Williams, C., & Brown, A. (2007). Impact of consuming a milk drink containing a probiotic on mood and cognition. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(3), 355–61. http://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602546

 

Janik, R., Thomason, L. A. M., Stanisz, A. M., Forsythe, P., Bienenstock, J., & Stanisz, G. J. (2016). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals oral Lactobacillus promotion of increases in brain GABA, N-acetyl aspartate and glutamate. NeuroImage, 125, 988–995. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.11.018

 

Maes, M. (2011). An intriguing and hitherto unexplained co-occurrence: Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are manifestations of shared inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative (IO&NS) pathways. Progress in Neuro- Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 35(3), 784–94. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.06.023

 

Messaoudi, M., Violle, N., Bisson, J.-F., Desor, D., Javelot, H., & Rougeot, C. (2011). Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers. Gut Microbes, 2(4), 256–61. http://doi.org/10.4161/gmic.2.4.16108

 

Rao, A. V., Bested, A. C., Beaulne, T. M., Katzman, M. A., Iorio, C., Berardi, J. M., & Logan, A. C. (2009). A randomized, double- blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gut Pathogens, 1(1), 6. http://doi.org/10.1186/1757-4749-1-6

 

Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., van Hemert, S., Bosch, J. A., & Colzato, L. S. (2015). A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003

 

Tillisch, K., Labus, J., Kilpatrick, L., Jiang, Z., Stains, J., Ebrat, B., ... Mayer, E. A. (2013). Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology, 144(7), 1394–401, 1401.e1–4. http://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043

 

VandeVusse, L., Hanson, L., & Safdar, N. (2013). Perinatal outcomes of prenatal probiotic and prebiotic administration: an integrative review. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 27(4), 288–301; quiz E1–2. http://doi.org/10.1097/JPN.0b013e3182a1e15d

  

 

 

 

 

Maternal prenatal depression or anxiety are risk factors for adverse health and behaviour outcomes in offspring.

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