Recent Study Shows That Probiotics Improve The Brain's Cognitive Skills
The Benefits of Taking Probiotics
According to a new research published in the Gastroenterology journal, bacteria in our food can actually affect our brain function. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the UCLA.
The study was performed among a group of women who have been taking probiotics. It has been shown that the brain function of these women changed while they were in a resting state as well as when they were in an emotion-recognition task.
It is amazing how brain function is affected by the environmental condition of the stomach and the intestines. According to the researchers, this study will prove to be helpful for the future formulation of dietary and drug interventions for the improvement of brain function.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Kirsten Tillisch who is also an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA stated that many of us have food in our refrigerator that we buy to help improve our health—like yogurt and probiotic supplements. The probiotic acidophilus contained in these not only give us a stronger immunity, but it can also help improve our brain function. This can only mean that the phrase, "You are what you eat" is true. This also gives the phrase "Gut feeling" a whole new meaning.
Tillisch asks, "Have you ever wondered why you can sometimes feel sick in the stomach when you are suffering from stress or are under pressure? This is because the brain gives out a signal to the stomach that can cause gastrointestinal problems."
Tillisch added that a number of their patients report that they never felt anxious or depressed until they experienced gastrointestinal problems.
The study was performed on a group composed of 36 women who are between the ages of 18 and 55. These women were split into three groups, namely:
1. Those who consumed foods and supplements containing probiotics;
2. Those who have been eating dairy products that do not contain probiotics; and
3. Those who did not consume any dairy or probiotic products at all.
After a four week period, these women were made to undergo an emotion-recognition test while monitored under functional magnetic resonance imaging or FMRI while they were in a state of rest. The women were made to look at several pictures of angry and frightened faces and were told to match these images with other images with the same facial expressions. As they did this, their brain's cognitive skills were monitored and measured.
It was shown that women who have been taking probiotics performed better than those who only consumed dairy products and those who did not consume any product at all.
The researchers are now conducting a study as to find out what chemical is responsible for sending out signals from the gut to the brain. They will also be conducting a more thorough research on how the environment of the gut can affect the mood and symptoms of anxiety.
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