Stress matters: Randomized controlled trial on the effect of probiotics on neurocognition
Number of pages
SourceNeurobiology of Stress, 10, (2019), article 100141
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Affective Neuroscience
PI Group Memory and Emotion
PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
SW OZ BSI KLP
Neurobiology of Stress
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; 170 000 Motivational & Cognitive Control; 230 Affective Neuroscience; All institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Probiotics are microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed. In animals, probiotics reverse gut microbiome-related alterations in depression-like symptoms, in cognition, and in hormonal stress response. However, in humans, a causal understanding of the gut-brain link in emotion and cognition is lacking. Additionally, whether the effects of probiotics on neurocognition are visible only in presence of stress, remains unclear. We investigated the effects of a multispecies probiotic (Ecologic®Barrier) on specific neurocognitive measures of emotion reactivity, emotion regulation, and cognitive control using fMRI. Critically, we also tested whether probiotics can buffer against the detrimental effects of acute stress on working memory. In a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, between-subjects intervention study, 58 healthy participants were tested once before and once after a 28-day intervention. Without stress induction, probiotics did not affect brain, behavioral, or related self-report measures. However, relative to placebo, the probiotics group did show a significant stress-related increase in working memory performance after supplementation. This change was associated with intervention-related neural changes in frontal cortex during cognitive control exclusively in the probiotics group. Overall, our results show neurocognitive effects of a multispecies probiotic in healthy women only under challenging situations, buffering against the detrimental effects of stress on cognition.
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