Probiotics change brain activity and emotional response

Probiotics change brain activity and emotional response

Probiotics change brain activity and emotional response

Probiotics are very popular right now, and for good reason.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “These microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing “good” bacteria in your body already do.”

Research from UCLA now shows that milk fermented with probiotics change brain activity in women.

Study shows probiotics change brain activity and emotional response

The research team divided 36 healthy women into 3 groups. The first group was given the fermented probiotic milk. The second group was given plain milk without probiotics. The last group was not given a milk product.

Before the study began, the team tested participants with MRI studies and brain response analysis. Then the participants were given the probiotics.

The UCLA researchers also tested the women’s’ responses to emotional faces.

After the study period of four weeks, they found that probiotics change brain activity in the women. Their task-related responses increased, and the activity within the sensory cortex in their brains changed.

Their midbrain connectivity was strengthened, which researchers believe explains the increase in task-related responses.

The signaling pathways for emotional responses were also changed.

The probiotics in the fermented milk included Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis.

The research team also found a connection between the probiotics in the gut and the nervous system. Many of our neurotransmitters are created near the gut.

“Four weeks intake of a fermented milk with probiotics by healthy women affected activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation,” the researchers concluded.

This study showing that probiotics change brain activity and emotional response was published in the journal Gastroenterology.

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Some information included in this article is courtesy of

1. “Probiotics Change Brain Activity, Emotional Response.”, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
2. “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity.” Gastroenterology. Gastroenterology, 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
3. “Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Important for Health?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.

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