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Probiotics Help You Forget

An old boss once jokingly told me that "the secret to happiness is 1) lots of money, and 2) a bad memory." I joked back... "well, then I'm halfway to happiness and just need that money to start rolling in!"

We all know that dwelling on previous negative experiences (known as rumination) can activate negative dysfunctional patterns of thinking, which are triggered by subtle changes in mood (known as cognitive reactivity), is one of the most predictive risk factors of depression. This newly published study examined the effects of supplementation with a multispecies probiotic product on rumination and cognitive reactivity.
This study follows previous research into the role of the microbiome in cognitive and affective functioning (some of which I covered previously, see below under Related Posts).

The researchers behind this study claim to be the first to investigate whether the administration of a multispecies probiotic for at least 4 weeks has a beneficial effect on rumination. The randomised, placebo controlled trial was conducted on 40 healthy subjects. Half of the participants received a placebo powder, while the other half received the probiotics mixture.

Participants were invited to the lab to fill in a questionnaire indexing sensitivity (cognitive reactivity) to depression on two occasions: one time at the beginning of the intervention and the second time after 4 weeks when the intervention was completed. In both occasions they were required.

Compared to subjects who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the multispecies probiotics intervention showed significantly reduced ruminative thoughts, said the team.

“Participants who received the 4-week multispecies probiotics intervention showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts,” they explained. The team concluded that their findings indicate that probiotics supplementation “warrants further research as a potential preventive strategy for depression.”

...I was going to write some more, but I lost my train of thought. But why do I feel so happy?!

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Source: A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood

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