Cognitive decline, memory impairment, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety are common among older adults.
Due to the close relationship between gut microbiota and the central nervous system (CNS), there’s a great interest in using probiotics to modulate the gut microbiome and enhance brain health.
Probiotics are live organisms that confer a health benefit on the host when administered in adequate amounts. But could they improve brain health?
Studies in this area are still scarce. But there is some evidence in favour of this hypothesis:
- Aging causes changes in gut functions and composition. Also, reduced diversity in gut microbiota is associated with an increased incidence of age-related diseases. Studies in rats show that administering probiotics help prevent this effect.
- Probiotics such as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 have beneficial effects in altering mice’s hippocampal brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression. This protein has a major role in memory and learning.
- Adults receiving probiotics L. plantarum DR7 for 12 weeks experienced reduced stress and anxiety than those in the placebo group.
- Probiotics can also suppress inflammation and oxidative stress associated with aging and enhance the levels of anti-inflammatory substances in the plasma.
Read the review for more details:
Ong, J. S., Lew, L. C., Hor, Y. Y., & Liong, M. T. (2022). Probiotics: The Next Dietary Strategy against Brain Aging. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 27(1), 1.