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According to estimates by the World Health Organization, 5% of adults worldwide suffer from depression. And many are those for whom antidepressants do not work as an initial treatment. Researchers have recently highlighted the effectiveness of probiotics against depression.

A recent study, conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in partnership with ADM Protexin, suggests that taking probioticsin addition to antidepressants, would improve the treatment ofanxiety and some depression. Probiotics are micro-organisms (bacteria, yeasts) found in certain foods that have many health benefits. In particular, they facilitate digestion and stimulate the immune system. There are probiotics in the form of a food supplement, but medical advice is advised before taking them.

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The double-blind trial included 49 adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder and unresponsive to antidepressants. Half of them were put on a probiotic supplement that included 14 strains of bacteria. The others were given a placebo. After eight weeks, both groups showed signs of improvement, but the condition of those who took probiotics progressed much more significantly, starting in the fourth week.

Professor James Stone, lead researcher on the study, who started his work at King’s College and now works at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “Non-response or partial response to antidepressants is a huge problem and this study is an important first step in exploring the therapeutic potential of probiotics as a treatment for depression. He adds that probiotics are an acceptable and tolerable supplement for people already taking antidepressants. This now paves the way for studies to investigate whether these beneficial effects of probiotics on depression and anxiety are seen in larger patient populations..”

The gut-brain axis is a truly fascinating and rapidly evolving area of ​​microbiota research. The results of this pilot study are an important step in our understanding of the role of probiotics in mood and mental health.said Viktoriya Nikolova, first author of the study. microbiota is the set of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that make up the intestinal flora. Often referred to as our “second brain“, it plays an essential role in digestion but not only: chronic fatigue, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease… Many studies try to understand the effects of the microbiota on health.


  • ‘Acceptability, Tolerability, and Estimates of Putative Treatment Effects of Probiotics as Adjunctive Treatment in Patients With Depression: A Randomized Clinical Trial’, JAMA Psychiatry, June 14, 2023
  • King’s College London
  • WHO

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