Mind-altering probiotics


Recently it has become evident that the microbiota can influence gut-brain communication, brain functioning and even behavior. The high co-morbidity between stress-related psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and various chronic intestinal disorders support a role of the intestinal microbiota in gut-brain axis communication. How do microbes influence our behavior?










Two way communication

Gut-brain communication, known as the gut-brain-axis, functions bidirectionally. For instance, stress and emotions can influence the microbial composition of the gut through the release of stress hormones or neurotransmitters that influence gut physiology (permeability) and alter the microbiota composition. On the other hand, the gut microbiota (and probiotics) can influence brain functioning through different mechanisms. These direct and indirect mechanisms include humeral (cortical, noradrenalin), bacterial (metabolites), immune (cytokines) and neural (vagus nerve and enteric nervous system) pathways. The involvement of the intestinal microbiota in the gut-brain-axis suggests that modulation of this microbiota with probiotics may provide novel treatment strategies for complex CNS disorders and stress-related (GI) disorders. 



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"Modulating the gut microbiota with probiotics may provide novel teatment strategies for CNS disorders”.







Ecologic® SENSE

With the knowledge about modulating microbiota-gut-brain-axis communication Winclove has developed Ecologic® SENSE (in literature referred to as Ecologic® BARRIER).

Ecologic® SENSE is a multispecies probiotic formulation intended for business purposes. The formulation has been specifically designed to improve the epithelial barrier and to increase the resistance to disturbances of the intestinal barrier. Impaired barrier function has been shown to be important in different psychiatric diseases. Due to the impaired barrier function, the entrance of endotoxins can be increased, leading to enhanced pro-inflammatory reactions in the brains of susceptible people.

The strains in Ecologic® SENSE have been specifically selected for their capacity to strengthen the epithelial barrier, inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines and mast-cell activation and to decrease lipopolysaccharide load.








Clinical evidence

The ability of Ecologic® SENSE to positively influence cognitive status has been established in several studies. For example, Ecologic® SENSE has been tested in collaboration with Leiden University on cognitive reactivity to sad mood, a vulnerability marker for depression. Compared to participants who received the placebo intervention, the Ecologic® SENSE group showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood. The researchers concluded that the intake of this probiotic may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. These promising results led to a large follow up study that is currently running in an elderly population.


In collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, the effect of Ecologic® SENSE on reducing depressive symptoms is planned. This randomized placebo- controlled trial will investigate whether administration of Ecologic® SENSE is effective in reducing levels of depression in a population of depressed adults. Participants will consume Ecologic® SENSE daily and provide measures of mood throughout the study period.


Another randomized, placebo-controlled trial in collaboration with Radboud University and Medical Centrum, The Netherlands, will investigate the impact of Ecologic® SENSE on neurocognitive measures of emotion & executive functioning in healthy females by measuring brain activity via fMRI scans.


The results of these studies will contribute to the accumulating evidence that the intestinal microbiota may also play a role in other CNS involved conditions.



Note: Ecologic® SENSE is a probiotic concept formulation for business to business purposes. The formulation is not commercially available.






mind-altering probiotics

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