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Probiotics to prevent mental disorders

corresponding

ELSBETH PEKELHARING*, GELINE ORMEL
* Corresponding author
Winclove Probiotics, Hulstweg 11, 1032 LB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract

Increased intestinal permeability has been associated with a diversity of gastro-intestinal diseases. Moreover, the intestinal barrier is involved in the bidirectional communication between the GI-tract and the central nervous system. Research has shown that probiotics can positively influence the gut microbiota and intestinal barrier function. The aim of this article is to summarize the research performed with the probiotic formulation (Ecologic® Barrier) that has been specifically developed to strengthen the intestinal barrier function and by this alleviate or prevent mental disorders. In rodent studies this formulation has demonstrated to reduce depressive-like behavior, and in human studies to decrease sensitivity to depression and migraine frequency. This and other research will further unravel the working mechanisms of probiotics on the gut-brain axis and could reveal a potential for a broader range of gut-brain related disorders.


 

INTRODUCTION

 

Increased intestinal permeability, also called a “leaky gut”, is associated with various gastrointestinal disorders, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), coeliac disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (1). Moreover, a connection between a “leaky gut” and conditions such as metabolic syndrome, depression and autism is also becoming increasingly more pronounced (2-4).

Preclinical research has shown that certain probiotics can strengthen the intestinal barrier and reduce intestinal permeability (5). Probiotics have also shown to affect the activity of the gut microbiome and even influence communication between the gut and the brain, which is known as the gut-brain axis (6). Initial e