Study shows AB-Biotics’ probiotic strain improves mental health

Published: 26-Oct-2022

The probiotic strain formulation also relieves gastric distress and boosts productivity

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Heliyon finds that a blend of three probiotic strains from AB-Biotics, a Kaneka group company, reduced diarrhea-related symptoms and may improve mental wellbeing in adults regularly subjected to the stresses of modern life.

Researchers Takumi Sato et al. designed the double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparison study to investigate the efficacy of a probiotic blend composed of strains P. acidilactici KABP 021 (CECT 7483), L. plantarum KABP 022 (CECT 7484), L. plantarum KABP 023 (CECT 7485), as a potential treatment for people experiencing ‘IBS-like’ gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, triggered by repeated exposure to stress. The study’s results suggest that the probiotic blend was successful in supporting the needs of otherwise healthy subjects suffering from stress-induced abdominal symptoms. Moreover, the probiotic showed a positive effect on individuals’ productivity, mood and quality of life.  

Symptom relief for healthy stress-sufferers 

It is estimated that 4% of the global population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). An already significant statistic, this number does not take into account the millions of people around the world who experience milder or undiagnosed ‘IBS-like’ conditions, which are often linked to stress, depression and anxiety. 

In their study, Sato et al. set out to explore the potential of a probiotic formulation for subjects in this category, who exhibit symptoms like diarrhea, but remain outside the medical diagnosis for IBS. Japan was selected as the location for the study due to the prevalence of highly competitive work environments, fast-paced modern lifestyles and of IBS-like medical complaints. Twenty-six female and thirty-four male volunteers aged 20-65 were selected for the study, who were randomly assigned to either the probiotic or placebo group which were both instructed to take one capsule daily for a period of four weeks. 

Through our commitment to scientific excellence, safety and efficacy, we will continue to support research which builds our understanding of the role probiotics play in intestinal, immune and mental health

The results gathered following this month-long investigation demonstrated that the AB-Biotics probiotic blend helped alleviate stress-related diarrhea and total diarrhea scores in the probiotic group compared to placebo, as evaluated by Izumo scale scores. These subjects also reported improved scores in health-related quality of life measured through SF-8 questionnaires, suggesting an uptick in mental health and wellbeing during the course of the study. Sato et al. hypothesised that these particular bacterial strains counteracted the damaging effects of stress on the intestinal mucosa by producing metabolites, such as polyphosphates, acetylcholine, or acetate, which are known to reduce intestinal permeability and gut inflammation, with positive GI benefits. 

The researchers also found a significant correlation between increased numbers of butyric acid-producing Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and improvement in diarrhea scores in subjects receiving probiotic but not in the placebo group. Consistent with this, Faecalibacterium is known to be stimulated by acetate, one of the substances produced by the probiotic blend. Based on these results, Sato et al. propose that the probiotic intervention directly reduced intestinal permeability and modulated gut microbiota, supporting beneficial bacteria, such as Faecalibacterium.

Building the case for further research

The conclusions of this new study are supported by existing research with the same probiotic formulation, which showed improvements in visceral hypersensitivity, a component of IBS related with altered perceptions of GI symptoms. This new study confirms that the probiotic modulates the gut-brain axis, with observed benefits in the gut and also emotional wellbeing. Overall, these probiotic strains have shown strong scientific results for complex gastrointestinal disturbances like stress-related diarrhea, IBS, and food intolerances including lactose and fructose intolerance. Importantly, these results have been observed across different ethnicities and dietary patterns, reinforcing the usefulness of these strains.

“Gold-standard, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are our bread and butter,” said Miquel Bonachera, Co-Founder and Director at AB-Biotics. “We’re incredibly excited to announce the results of this latest study, but this is just the beginning. Through our commitment to scientific excellence, safety and efficacy, we will continue to support research which builds our understanding of the role probiotics play in intestinal, immune and mental health – and their potential to transform peoples’ lives. Watch this space!”

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