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Ease Depression and Anxiety with Probiotics

Patient Suffering from Depression and Anxiety

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With the gut-brain axis increasingly under scrutiny, two studies provide new evidence of how the microbiome, or gut bacteria, affects mental health. In a review in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health of seven high-quality probiotic and prebiotic studies, researchers found that 11 out of 12 probiotics studied produced “measurable reductions in depression.” The major strains studied were Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei and Bifidobacterium bifidum. In a second study in the journal Nutrients, 20 male soccer players ages 18 to 21 received either a placebo or a probiotics drink with L. casei for two months. By week four, those drinking the probiotic drink had significantly more relaxed (theta) and attentive (delta) brain waves, suggesting lowered anxiety and enhanced training ability. The probiotics drink also improved cognitive reaction time in the subjects.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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