Forget prozac, try Lactobacillus rhamnosus

The most recent Radiolab, “Guts” was the best in a while (and that’s really saying something).  Chock full of fascinating information about guts, digestion, etc.  They started off the show with one of my favorite quirky topics– fistulated cows:

Anyway, as long time readers know, I’m also a little bit obsessed with the topic of bacteria— especially the good bacteria that is so essential to human health.  I therefore felt a little remiss that I had not learned about this– the most fascinating tidbit on the Radiolab show.  At least in a mouse model, a particular strain of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (I take a different strain every day via Culturelle) had a pretty amazing impact on reducing the stress response:

The research, carried out by Dr Javier Bravo, and Professor John Cryan at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre in University College Cork, along with collaborators from the Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University in Canada, demonstrated that mice fed with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than those fed with just broth. Moreover, ingestion of the bacteria resulted in significantly lower levels of the stress-induced hormone, corticosterone.

“This study identifies potential brain targets and a pathway through which certain gut organisms can alter mouse brain chemistry and behaviour. These findings highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, the gut-brain axis, and opens up the intriguing opportunity of developing unique microbial-based strategies for treatment for stress-related psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression,” said John F. Cryan, senior author on the publication and Professor of Anatomy and Principal Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, at UCC. The APC researchers included Dr Hélène Savignac and Professor Ted Dinan.

Pretty damn cool.  Maybe my daily L. Bacillus GG is why I’m so even-keeled and low stressed :-).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Forget prozac, try Lactobacillus rhamnosus

  1. Derek says:

    Come by the CVM’s open house next year and you can get up close and personal with a fistulated steer. They are really cool and useful in teaching, research, and treating sick animals.

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