Common Probiotics Can Reduce Stress Levels, Lessen Anxiety

Summary: According to a new study, a common probiotic can decrease stress related behavior and anxiety.

Source: University of Missouri.

Probiotics, or beneficial live bacteria that are introduced into the body, have become increasingly popular as a way to improve health and well-being. Previous studies have shown a direct correlation between gut microbes and the central nervous system. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri, using a zebrafish model, determined that a common probiotic sold in supplements and yogurt can decrease stress-related behavior and anxiety. Studying how gut bacteria affect behavior in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of how probiotics may affect the central nervous system in humans. Their results recently were published in Scientific Reports a journal of Nature.

“Zebrafish are an emerging model species for neurobehavioral studies and their use is well-established in drug-screening,” said Aaron Ericsson, director of the MU Metagenomics Center and a research assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. “Our study has shown that simple probiotics that we normally use to keep our digestive tract in sync, could be beneficial to reducing our stress levels as well.”

In a series of studies, researchers tested how zebrafish behaved after doses of Lactobacillus plantarum, a common bacteria found in yogurt and probiotic supplements. In the first study, scientists added the bacteria to certain tanks housing zebrafish; other tanks of zebrafish received no probiotics. Then, the researchers introduced environmental stressors to both groups, such as draining small amounts of water from the tank and overcrowding.

“Each day we introduced a different stressor — tests that are validated by other researchers and cause higher anxiety among zebrafish,” said Elizabeth Bryda, professor of veterinary pathobiology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “These are common environmental stress patterns, such as isolation stress and temperature change, so it made the tests relevant to humans as well.”

Image shows bacteria.

By analyzing the gene pathways of both groups of fish, the research team found that zebrafish that were given the supplements showed a reduction in the metabolic pathways associated with stress.

“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,” said Daniel Davis, assistant director of the MU Animal Modeling Core. “Essentially, bacteria in the gut altered the gene expression associated with stress- and anxiety-related pathways in the fish allowing for increased signaling of particular neurotransmitters.”

To test their theory further, the researchers measured the movements of fish in their tanks using sophisticated computer measuring and imaging tools. Previous studies of fish behavior have found that fish that are stressed tend to spend more time at the bottom of their tanks. Once the fish were administered probiotics, they tended to spend more time toward the top of the tanks — the change in behavior indicating they were less stressed or less anxious.

“Using zebrafish, we’ve developed a relatively inexpensive platform for testing of other species of bacteria and probiotics and their potential benefit on different systems of the body,” Ericsson said.


Funding: The work was funded by a faculty research grant from the College of Veterinary Medicine. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Source: Jeff Sossamon – University of Missouri
Image Source: This image is for illustrative purposes only.
Video Source: The video is credited to MU News Bureau.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish” by Daniel J. Davis, Holly M. Doerr, Agata K. Grzelak, Susheel B. Busi, Eldin Jasarevic, Aaron C. Ericsson and Elizabeth C. Bryda in Scientific Reports. Published online September 19 2016 doi:10.1038/srep33726


Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish

The consumption of probiotics has become increasingly popular as a means to try to improve health and well-being. Not only are probiotics considered beneficial to digestive health, but increasing evidence suggests direct and indirect interactions between gut microbiota (GM) and the central nervous system (CNS). Here, adult zebrafish were supplemented with Lactobacillus plantarum to determine the effects of probiotic treatment on structural and functional changes of the GM, as well as host neurological and behavioral changes. L. plantarum administration altered the β-diversity of the GM while leaving the major core architecture intact. These minor structural changes were accompanied by significant enrichment of several predicted metabolic pathways. In addition to GM modifications, L. plantarum treatment also significantly reduced anxiety-related behavior and altered GABAergic and serotonergic signaling in the brain. Lastly, L. plantarum supplementation provided protection against stress-induced dysbiosis of the GM. These results underscore the influence commensal microbes have on physiological function in the host, and demonstrate bidirectional communication between the GM and the host.

“Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish” by Daniel J. Davis, Holly M. Doerr, Agata K. Grzelak, Susheel B. Busi, Eldin Jasarevic, Aaron C. Ericsson and Elizabeth C. Bryda in Scientific Reports. Published online September 19 2016 doi:10.1038/srep33726

Sugar – Insulin to Chronic Disease of Old Age

There are many factors that prevent us from achieving optimum health: craving for sugar, eating bad carbohydrates, imbalance in metabolic system and poor choices in lifestyle and environmental toxins.

As a caregiver for one of my clients at Motherhealth caregiving agency, I noticed first hand the effects of moldy food, food choices, craving for sugar, environment and lifestyle choices that contributed to our current health.

One of my 90 yr old client with COPD, have weak lungs, skin issues, backpain and indigestion.  As I care for him, I added acidophilus and lots of garlic/onions/fresh food in his diet. He is very good at taking his dietary supplements of EFA and others.  At 90, his brain function is still intact.  But with oxygen to depend on his breathing, life is not that easy in terms of doing the things he loved to do in the past, outside and not inside bed ridden.

I would like to invite you all to a 30min intro on insulin, diabetes, metabolic issues and chronic diseases via the internet. Email Connie at 408-854-188 text , to benefit with a total health coaching with use of powerful dietary herbs-food combo to combat health issues related to metabolic disorder which is the root cause of most chronic diseases.

  • Insulin is a major switching station, or control hormone, for many processes. It dictates how much fat the body will store.
  • As long as your insulin levels are high, you will fight a losing battle with weight loss. It acts on your brain to increase appetite — specifically, an appetite for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Insulin increases inflammation and oxidative stress and ages your brain, leading to what is being called type 3 diabetes — also known as Alzheimer’s.
  • Insulin increases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lowers HDL (“good”) cholesterol, raises triglycerides and increases your blood pressure. Insulin resistance causes 50 percent of all reported cases of high blood pressure.
  • Insulin stimulates the growth of cancer cells.
  • Insulin leads to mood and behavior disturbances such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia and ADHD.
  • Insulin makes your blood sticky and more likely to clot, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Insulin causes sex-hormone problems and can lead to infertility, facial hair growth, acne and scalp hair loss in women; in men, it can cause low testosterone, breast growth and more.

Rebalancing Act

The good news is that balancing blood sugar and correcting insulin resistance is well within our reach, and the effects are dramatic: Diseases ranging from depression to dementia can be stopped and even reversed if intervention occurs early enough.

While there are some new medications that can help, such as Glucophage, Avandia and Actos, they have side effects and are only a band-aid approach to chronic conditions unless used with a comprehensive nutritional, exercise and stress-management plan that balances your neuro-endocrine system by helping it work the way it was designed.

Here is what to do to rebalance insulin, both nutritionally and through your lifestyle:

  • Eat whole, real foods, mostly from plant-based sources. Our bodies evolved and were designed to flourish on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lean animal protein such as fish, chicken and eggs.
  • Remove toxic foods from your diet. Toxic foods, such as trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and all processed foods with ingredients you don’t easily recognize, interfere with your metabolism and create blood-sugar imbalances.
  • Eat organic. Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones slow down your metabolism.
  • Avoid sugar and flour products. They slow your metabolism and contribute to inflammation.
  • Eat early and try to eat protein with each meal. Starting off the day with protein — nuts or nut butters, eggs, a protein shake, or even leftovers from the night before — jump-starts your metabolism and helps to avert overeating throughout the day.
  • Eat frequently. Fueling your body regularly throughout the day speeds up your metabolism. Make it a priority to have three meals and a couple of snacks every day.
  • Finish eating at least two hours before bed. If you fall asleep with food in your stomach, your body is more likely to store it, not burn it.
  • Sleep seven to eight hours a night. A lack of sleep generates increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone that triggers you to crave and eat more refined carbs and sugar.
  • Build and maintain muscle. Your biggest metabolic engine is your muscle mass — basically, this is where your metabolism lives — so use it or lose it. Working with weights, exercise bands and resistance machines, and doing yoga all prevent your muscles from wasting away.
  • Exercise intelligently. Try including interval training into your exercise program two or three days a week: Exercise at 90 to 95 percent of your peak heart rate for 30 to 60 seconds, then three to five minutes at 60 to 65 percent of your peak heart rate, alternating for a total of 30 minutes. Exercising at this intensity will trigger a metabolic effect that will cause you to burn more calories all day and while you sleep.
  • Deeply relax daily. Stress hormones such as cortisol increase blood sugar, amplify appetite and cause weight gain around the middle, all of which promote insulin resistance. Find some time each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply or meditate.

Take control of your blood sugar, your health and more :

Text Connie 408-854-1883 for health coach training and the opportunity to help yourself and others in achieving optimum health and more. Email 

Intestinal Gut microbes and Obesity

Gut microbes and Obesity

Research Front Maps
Research front maps are diagrammatic representations of the core papers comprising each front. They are selected from the current Research Front set that are relevant to the featured special topic, in this case, Obesity. The title for this Research Front Map is “GUT MICROBIAL ECOLOGY AND OBESITY,” containing 29 core papers. Source dates: 1999-December 31, 2009 (sixth bimonthly period 2009).
Each circle represents a highly cited paper whose bibliographic information is displayed when the user clicks on the circle. The solid lines between circles represent the strongest co-citation links for each paper (that is, indicating that the papers are frequently cited together); weaker links are indicated by dashed lines. Papers close to each other on the map are generally more highly co-cited. The most recent paper(s) are indicated in pink. Annotations may have been added to this map which represent the main research themes. These appear as labels attached to specific regions on the maps.

Two groups of beneficial bacteria are dominant in the human gut, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes. Here we show that the relative proportion of Bacteroidetes is decreased in obese people by comparison with lean people, and that this proportion increases with weight loss on two types of low-calorie diet. Our findings indicate that obesity has a microbial component, which might have potential therapeutic implications.

Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63108, USA

Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, suggests that we would do well to begin regarding the human body as “an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.” This humbling new way of thinking about the self has large implications for human and microbial health, which turn out to be inextricably linked. Disorders in our internal ecosystem — a loss of diversity, say, or a proliferation of the “wrong” kind of microbes — may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, as well as some infections. “Fecal transplants,” which involve installing a healthy person’s microbiota into a sick person’s gut, have been shown to effectively treat an antibiotic-resistant intestinal pathogen named C. difficile, which kills 14,000 Americans each year. (Researchers use the word “microbiota” to refer to all the microbes in a community and “microbiome” to refer to their collective genes.) We’ve known for a few years that obese mice transplanted with the intestinal community of lean mice lose weight and vice versa. (We don’t know why.) A similar experiment was performed recently on humans by researchers in the Netherlands: when the contents of a lean donor’s microbiota were transferred to the guts of male patients with metabolic syndrome, the researchers found striking improvements in the recipients’ sensitivity to insulin, an important marker for metabolic health. Somehow, the gut microbes were influencing the patients’ metabolisms.
Our resident microbes also appear to play a critical role in training and modulating our immune system, helping it to accurately distinguish between friend and foe and not go nuts on, well, nuts and all sorts of other potential allergens. Some researchers believe that the alarming increase in autoimmune diseases in the West may owe to a disruption in the ancient relationship between our bodies and their “old friends” — the microbial symbionts with whom we coevolved.
These claims sound extravagant, and in fact many microbiome researchers are careful not to make the mistake that scientists working on the human genome did a decade or so ago, when they promised they were on the trail of cures to many diseases. We’re still waiting. Yet whether any cures emerge from the exploration of the second genome, the implications of what has already been learned — for our sense of self, for our definition of health and for our attitude toward bacteria in general — are difficult to overstate. Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota,” as one group of researchers recently concluded in a landmark review article on microbial ecology — that is, as a function of the community, not the individual.
Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.

Connie’s comments: The goal is to have an alkaline body. Start your day with water with freshly squeezed lemon. Flush the toxins in our body with foods rich in fiber and are alkaline such as whole foods of vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. 70% of our immune system reside in our intestine. A clean intestine free of bugs will do well with our health. In care homes, most of our elderly are suffering from constipation with daily diet rich in meat for many of their years. Drugs also exacerbate their condition. Live a healthy lifestyle, free from damaging effects of toxins, drugs, meat rich diet and other chemicals unknown to us.