Literature update_2095
Literature update_2097







Study results


Ecologic® BARRIER significantly reduces cognitive reactivity in mild to moderate depressed individuals






Main findings:


 Ecologic® BARRIER significantly reduced cognitive reactivity, particularly in mild to moderate depressed individuals.
 All clinical trial participants demonstrated improvement in symptoms, suggesting non-specific therapeutic effects associated with weekly monitoring visits

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Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide; with evidence suggesting that an impaired gut barrier function and inflammation are correlated with depressive symptoms. 1-8 Researchers from University of Technology Sydney, Australia, conducted a clinical trial to determine the effect of Ecologic® BARRIER (1x10^10 CFU/day) on depressive symptoms in participants with major depressive disorder (MDD).
For this, 71 participants were randomly allocated to either probiotic or placebo, which was consumed daily over eight weeks. Pre- and post-intervention measures of symptoms and vulnerability markers of depression, as well as gut microbiota composition were compared. Clinical trial participants were also compared on psychological variables and gut microbiota composition to a non-depressed group (n=20).



Results and conclusion

All participants demonstrated an improvement in symptoms, suggesting a non-specific therapeutic effects associated with the weekly monitoring visits. Participants in the probiotics group reported significantly lower cognitive reactive scores after intervention compared to baseline, this was not the case in the placebo group. Ecologic® BARRIER significantly reduced cognitive reactivity particularly in the mild/moderate subgroup (in MDD). This cognitive reactivity, thinking patterns, or so-called dysfunction attitudes, are strengthened during depressive episode9.

Ecologic® BARRIER did not significantly alter the microbiota of depressed individuals, remarkably in this study no difference was observed in microbiota composition between depressed individuals and healthy control.
A limitation of the study was the high attrition rate, which may be attributed to the weekly monitoring visits. This might also explain the high overall improvement, since it is known that routines and engagement in planned activities is beneficial for reducing symptoms of depression.



Clinical practice

In clinical practice, Ecologic® BARRIER may be a useful adjunct to potentiate the effects of therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing cognitive patterns. If health care professionals are interested to explore the potential of Ecologic® BARRIER in MDD patients, the mild-to-moderate group is where the best response is expected. Ecologic® BARRIER was well-tolerated and this study adds to the growing evidence for the role of microbiota in mental well-being.




1. Foster, J.A., Neufeld, K.-A.M., 2013. Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci. 36, 305–312.
2. Mayer, E.A., 2011. Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut–brain communication. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 12, 453.
3. 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. Behav. Immun. 48, 258–264.
4. Cizza, G., Marques, A.H., Eskandari, F., Christie, I.C., Torvik, S., Silverman, M.N., Phillips, T.M., Sternberg, E.M., Group, P.S., 2008. Elevated neuroimmune biomarkers in sweat patches and plasma of premenopausal women with major depressive disorder in remission: the POWER study. Biol. Psychiatry 64, 907–911.
5. Dowlati, Y., Herrmann, N., Swardfager, W., Liu, H., Sham, L., Reim, E.K., Lanctôt, K.L.,2010. A meta-analysis of cytokines in major depression. Biol. Psychiatry 67, 446–457.
6. Lanquillon, S., Krieg, J.C., Bening-Abu-Shach, U., Vedder, H., 2000. Cytokine production and treatment response in major depressive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology 22, 370–379.
7. Maes, M., Kubera, M., Leunis, J.-C., Berk, M., 2012. Increased IgA and IgM responses against gut commensals in chronic depression: further evidence for increased bacterial translocation or leaky gut. J. Affect. Disord. 141, 55–62.
8. Mesquita, A.R., Correia-Neves, M., Roque, S., Castro, A.G., Vieira, P., Pedrosa, J., Palha, J.A., Sousa, N., 2008. IL-10 modulates depressive-like behavior. J. Psychiatr. Res. 43, 89–97.
9. Figueroa, C.A., Mocking, R.J., Mahmoud, G.A., Koeter, M.W., Bockting, C.L., van der Does, W., Ruhe, H.G., Schene, A.H., 2018. The measurement of cognitive reactivity to sad mood in patients remitted from major depressive disorder. Br. J. Clin. Psychol. 57, 313–327.

Read the scientific article: 
Gut feelings: A randomised, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial of probiotics for depressive symptoms. 














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