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Prozac In The Yogurt Aisle: Can 'Good' Bacteria Chill Us Out?

(The Salt, NPR) Scientists have documented that the mix of bacteria that populate our gut influence our susceptibility to — or our immunity against — allergies, eczema and asthma.
Now, researchers are turning their attention to our emotional health. It turns out that there's a lot of communication between our guts and our brains…
Take, for instance, a recent study… Researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands recruited 40 healthy volunteers. (The study was funded in part by a probiotics manufacturer, but the company had no say in its design or execution.)
"And out of those 40 people, we made two groups," explains Laura Steenbergen, a neuroscience researcher who worked on the study. Twenty people took a probiotic containing a mix of eight strains of bacteria for one month. The other 20 volunteers got a placebo that looked exactly the same. So no one in the study knew what they were getting…
After one month, what Steenbergen and her colleagues found is that the participants taking the probiotics answered [questions about their mood] significantly differently than they had at the beginning.
"What was different is that they reported less aggressive thoughts and less ruminative thoughts," Steenbergen told us by phone.
So, bottom line, they were a little more chill? "Yes, it means they were less reactive to negative thoughts and feelings."
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