In a trial those given the supplement Bifidobacterium longum 1714 – Zenflore – reported reduced stress, but also improved mental acuity compared with those given a dummy pill. For the first time this was borne out by brain imaging, which showed decreased electrical activity linked to stress and increased currents in areas linked to alertness.
The research, involving 40 people and published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, was done by Paul Enck of the University Hospital Tubingen, Germany.
He said: “This study is the first to show that the probiotic is not only affecting behaviour, it’s affecting brain functions in a very global sense.”
Dr Eileen Murphy, a co-author, added: “This is the first study to show images of the effect of this probiotic on stress levels in the brain. It is very exciting and ground-breaking.”
Probiotics are microorganisms that help us function, for example, helping to digest food.
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