If you are expecting eating yogurt, which is rich in probiotics, to reduce your anxiety, you might be wrong. While consuming probiotics may be good for your digestive system, it may not be effective in decreasing your anxiety levels, say researchers. The study found evidence that probiotics found in yogurt and supplements can reduce anxiety in rodents, but not in humans. “Probiotics did not significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety in humans,” said lead author Daniel J. Reis from University of Kansas.
However, the researchers said their findings should not close the door on probiotics as the micro-organisms in yogurts and other products that take up residence in our guts may be a potentially useful therapy for anxiety and other cognitive issues in the future.
“We’re in the early days of this research into probiotics. We’re not saying they do nothing, but we have a lot to figure out before we know if they can be used therapeutically,” Reis said. “I’ve seen a lot of stories hyping probiotics as helpful for anxiety but I wouldn’t recommend using them to treat anxiety at this stage,” he added.
In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team reviewed data from 22 preclinical studies involving 743 animals and 14 clinical studies of 1,527 individuals. The results from the subgroup analyses revealed a significant reduction only among diseased animals. For people experiencing anxiety, Reis suggested reaching out for expert help. “For anxiety, the number one thing is to seek professional treatment. That should be the first action. There are some good therapies out there that can help with various anxiety disorders,” he noted.