Probiotics can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, finds study

An anxiety disorder is characterized by the constant feeling of fear, suspicion, nervousness and an unpleasant state of inner turmoil. It hampers the day-to-day functioning and deteriorates the overall quality of life. Though anxiety is a common reaction to stress, an anxiety disorder is a serious mental health condition that deserves attention.

Affecting nearly 40 million adults in the United States, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the country. It also adds billions of cost burden to the country’s economy per year. Hope lies in the fact that all anxiety disorders are treatable with timely intervention and the right course of treatment.

The University of Missouri (MU) has conducted a study in 2016 that suggested use of probiotics to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. If the findings of the study are considered to be effective, it would come to aid to patients who are hesitant about seeking proper treatment in getting relief from their anxiety symptoms, due to social barriers and stigma attached to mental illnesses.

The researchers highlighted the effect of beneficial bacteria or probiotics on the human central nervous system. These bacteria help to keep the digestive tract in sync thereby, leading to proper functioning of other connected systems as well.

Link between probiotics and anxiety

Past studies have talked about the connection between gut bacteria and the central nervous system. Extending the observations, the MU study highlighted the role played by the bacteria in reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Conducted on zebrafish as an emerging model for neurobehavioral studies, the study identified that model species exposed to multiple doses of Lactobacillus plantarum (a common bacteria found in yogurt and probiotic supplements) showed a reduction in the metabolic pathways associated with stress.

Daniel Davis, assistant director of the MU Animal Modeling Core, said “By measuring the genes associated with stress and anxiety, our tests were able to predict how this common probiotic is able to benefit behavioral responses in these fish.” Gut bacteria is capable of altering the gene expression associated with stress- and anxiety-related pathways and allows increased signaling of particular neurotransmitters.

The researchers further confirmed their theory by measuring the movements of fish in their tanks using sophisticated computer measuring and imaging tools. Once the fish were administered probiotics, they spent more time floating on top of the tanks, which indicated less stress levels.

The stressors introduced were common environmental stress patterns including isolation stress and temperature change, which are equally applicable to humans. It’s an inexpensive remedy that can be beneficial for different parts of the human body. The researchers are positive about the findings and are hopeful that this can pave way for alternate therapies to treat anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a serious concern that needs treatment

Anxiety can be caused due to multiple reasons, such as stress, lack of sleep, worry about exam results and unreasonable fear of the unknown. Focus should be assessing the root cause and administering treatment accordingly. An untreated mental disorder often results in substance abuse and addiction, which further creates problems in day-to-day life. Co-occurring disorders have a tremendous negative impact on overall health, relationships, work life and social interactions.

Therefore, it is important seek proper medical treatment so that the problems do not aggravate. A mental health expert will diagnose the cause and help with medication and psychotherapies for holistic recovery. A positive frame of mind will help in improving treatment outcomes. If you are experiencing anxiety more often, chances could be that it’s turning into a disorder. Do not resort to drugs and alcohol as a means to alleviate stress. The doctor is your best guide in overcoming all mental health problems.

To know more about the best anxiety disorder treatment centers in Arizona which administers a holistic treatment program, contact the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Arizona. Chat online with our treatment experts or call our 24/7 helpline number 866-425-9317 for more information about customized anxiety disorder treatment in Arizona.