The Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common life-disrupting, highly recurrent mental disorder that is a leading source of disability worldwide. The connection between the gut-brain axis as it relates to neurological function, specifically depression, has increasingly become a topic of interest. Recent studies have confirmed that the microbial composition in MDD patients differs from that of non-depressed individuals. For the purpose of this review, probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” The beneficial effects not only localize in the gut but reach the whole microbiota-gut-brain axis. The purpose of this review was to evaluate randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effects of probiotic supplementation on depressive symptoms and depressive mood in healthy and clinically diagnosed patients. Specifically, to evaluate the hypothesis that probiotic supplementation in humans will lead to reduced depressive symptoms and a reduction in depressive mood occurrences. A systematic literature search was carried out using PubMed and MEDLINE databases. Of the final 4 RCTs selected, 2 evaluated the effect of probiotic supplementation on depressive symptoms or mood in healthy adults and 2 evaluated depressive symptoms or mood in clinical diagnosed samples (diagnosis of major depressive disorder). In each of the studies, the probiotic species administered were from Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium strains (single strain and multi-strain). Results of these studies showed strong statistical significance for reductions in depressive symptoms across all 4 RCTs included. Additional research and increased sample size are required to confirm further and enhance the understanding of probiotic use to treat and prevent depression.
Microbiome, Probiotic, Major Depressive Disorder, Gut-Brain Axis, Systematic Review
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