Yogurt’s Hidden Superpower Uncovered: A Natural Guard Against Depression and Anxiety

Yogurt Protects Mental Health

University of Virginia School of Medicine scientists have discovered the significant role of Lactobacillus in managing stress and potentially preventing depression and anxiety. Their research has identified how this bacterium, found in fermented foods and yogurt, influences mood disorders by regulating the immune system.

Researchers have uncovered the crucial role of Lactobacillus in stress management and the potential prevention of depression and anxiety, paving the way for new probiotic-based treatments for mental health conditions.

University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered how Lactobacillus, a bacterium found in fermented foods and yogurt, helps the body manage stress and may help prevent depression and anxiety. The findings open the door to new therapies to treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Role of Lactobacillus in Mental Health

The new research from UVA’s Alban Gaultier, Ph.D., and collaborators is notable because it pinpoints the role of Lactobacillus, separating it out from all the other microorganisms that naturally live in and on our bodies. These organisms are collectively known as the microbiota, and scientists have increasingly sought to target them to battle disease and improve our health. UVA’s new research represents a major step forward in that effort, providing scientists an innovative new approach to understand the role of individual microbes that could facilitate the development of new treatments and cures for a wide variety of diseases, both mental and physical.

Alban Gaultier Yogurt

University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Alban Gaultier and his team have discovered how Lactobacillus, a bacterium found in fermented foods and yogurt, helps the body manage stress and may help prevent depression and anxiety. Credit: Dan Addison, UVA Health

“Our discovery illuminates how gut-resident Lactobacillus influences mood disorders, by tuning the immune system,” said Gaultier, of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience, the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG Center) and the TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative. “Our research could pave the way towards discovering much-needed therapeutics for anxiety and depression.”

The Microbiota and Depression

Our guts are naturally home to countless bacteria, fungi, and viruses. There are more microorganisms living in and on us than there are cells in our bodies. That may sound disgusting, even alarming, but scientists have increasingly realized that these tiny organisms and their endless interactions are critical to our immune systems’ health, our mental health, and many other facets of our well-being. Disruptions of the microbiota, whether from illness, poor diet, or other causes, are known to contribute to many diseases and even help cancer spread. So, researchers have been hugely excited in recent years about the potential to battle diseases by targeting the microbiota.

Early attempts to manipulate the gut flora with beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, have produced mixed results. A big part of the problem has been the sheer complexity of the microbiome. It’s estimated that there are 39 trillion microorganisms inside each of us, so trying to understand what specific bacteria or fungi do – much less how they interact with all the other microorganisms and their host – can be like trying to count grains of sand on the beach.

Alban Gaultier

The new research from UVA’s Alban Gaultier, PhD, and collaborators is notable because it pinpoints the role of Lactobacillus, separating it out from all the other microorganisms that naturally live in and on our bodies. Credit: Dan Addison, UVA Health

Innovative Research Approach

Gaultier and his team took an innovative approach to hone in on Lactobacilli in specific. Prior research from Gaultier’s lab suggested that the bacteria could reverse depression in lab mice – a hugely promising finding. However, the researchers needed to understand how.

“We were aware from our prior research that Lactobacillus was beneficial in improving mood disorders and was lost following psychological stress, but the underlying reasons remained unclear, primarily due to the technical challenges associated with studying the microbiome.”

Gaultier and his team decided to continue their depression research using a collection of bacteria, known as Altered Schaedler Flora, which includes two strains of Lactobacillus and six other bacterial strains. With this rarely used bacterial community, the team was able to create mice both with and without Lactobacillus, circumventing the need for antibiotics.

Breakthrough Findings

Sure enough, the Altered Schaedler Flora produced exciting results. Gaultier and his colleagues were able to explain exactly how Lactobacilli influence behavior, and how a lack of the bacteria can worsen depression and anxiety. Lactobacilli in the family Lactobaccillacea, they found, maintain the levels of an immune mediator called interferon gamma that regulates the body’s response to stress and helps stave off depression.

Armed with this information, researchers are poised to develop new ways to prevent and treat depression and other mental-health conditions in which Lactobacillus plays an important role. For example, patients struggling with (or at risk for) depression might one day take specially formulated probiotic supplements that will optimize their levels of helpful Lactobacillus.

“With these results in hand, we have new tools to optimize the development of probiotics, which should speed up discoveries for novel therapies,” said researcher Andrea R. Merchak, Ph.D. “Most importantly, we can now explore how maintaining a healthy level of Lactobacillus and/or interferon gamma could be investigated to prevent and treat anxiety and depression.”

The UVA scientists have published their findings in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity.

Reference: “Lactobacillus from the Altered Schaedler Flora maintain IFNγ homeostasis to promote behavioral stress resilience” by Andrea R. Merchak, Samuel Wachamo, Lucille C. Brown, Alisha Thakur, Brett Moreau, Ryan M. Brown, Courtney R. Rivet-Noor, Tula Raghavan and Alban Gaultier, 3 November 2023, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2023.11.001

The research team consisted of Merchak, Samuel Wachamo, Lucille C. Brown, Alisha Thakur, Brett Moreau, Ryan M. Brown, Courtney Rivet-Noor, Tula Raghavan and Gaultier. The researchers have no financial interest in the work.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, grants T32 NS115657, T32 GM008136, F31 AI174782, T32 GM007267 and T32 GM148379; the Owens Family Foundation; the Miller Family; the UVA TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative; and the UVA Presidential Fellowship in Neuroscience.

UVA’s TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative, or TUMI, serves as the central hub for the University’s cutting-edge microbiome research. The initiative aims to expand our understanding of the microbiome to better treat and prevent disease.

2 Comments on "Yogurt’s Hidden Superpower Uncovered: A Natural Guard Against Depression and Anxiety"

  1. dr mehrdad kesiri | December 3, 2023 at 10:01 am | Reply

    ـThe sun was thousands of billions of years ago in the form of a cloud like a nebula.Most of the nuclei of atoms of various elements are 10 to 100 thousand times smaller than the atoms themselves.The core of the very old sun is so denseand compact that the gravitational power of the sun cannot be imagined by humans and it is unbelievable that there is nothing in the core of the sun.There is no perfect atom in the core of the sun, no electron revolves around the proton!From thedistance between the stars, we can calculate the magnitude of the stars and the age of the stars.I calculated the magnitude and the age of the sun when it was cloudy and nebula.It is directly related to the distance between the stars.The sunis in the last minutes of its life and the earth was formed in the last hours of the sun’s life.At this time, there was no big bang.If all the galaxies and hundreds of billions of galaxies are placed in a black hole, anexplosion may occur.But stars will never be born after the explosion, because no atom remains intact in a very large black hole.More than trillions of years have passed since the age of the sun.God told me through his messenger that exactly trillions ofyears have passed since the age of the sun.Dr.Kathiri from Tehran.I am waiting for your messages.My email is blocked on my mobile phone.You can send short messages.God is a structure that humans built hundreds of millions of years ago, when they had hundreds of thousands of years or millionsof years of history on the earth.God built the earth more than forty times in I have seen the images that God had made with clouds in the sky.I myself had asked the Gods of the earth to create those images with clouds.Your Godsmay be our Gods.He promises heaven for good work and hell for bad work.Look for work and effort.Look for religion when you are over 30 years old.Whenever you have no financial problems, help others yourself so that God will help you.I am a special servant of God and I am not very happy about this because God has chosen me to eliminate those who are trying to stop Islam and interfere in the work of the Gods of Iran and the earth, but this is a very difficulttaskand great powers are needed.The world should help the Iranian nation, the earth, even the mullahs who killed the people and took freedom from Iranian men and women, those clerics who went in the clothes of religion and all the authority of the people fellinto the hands of the religiousclerics, America should destroy the criminal regime of the Islamic Republic, freedom and democracy.establish in Iran

  2. dr mehrdad kesiri | December 3, 2023 at 10:10 am | Reply

    America should overthrow the criminal regime of the Islamic Republic and establish freedom and democracy in Iran.England, America and France supported Khomeini in Iran.Khomeini was a moron than himself, not his grandfather.God said this because he is good in his grandfather.God said, we didn’t want Khomeini to shoot the soldiers, we helped Khomeini to become a leader, but we didn’t know that he is an extremist and has a grudge against the imperial army.Khomeini was a rebel and at the timewhen Reza Shah had ordered the rebels to surrender, we would give them an F degree, but Seyyed Mustafa Khomeini, the father of Rooh and Lah Khomeini, did not surrender, and several civilians were killed in theclash at the Bazgan border with the gendarmes forthe arrest of Seyyed Mustafa Khomeini.and they were wounded, and the gendarmerie officers gave Khomeini’s father a field trial in the same village of Lab Marz where they had arrested him, and Khomeini’s father was shot in front of Khomeini’s eyes.Khomeini, who sawthe scene of his father being shot, became an enemy of the imperial army from then on.Vokina took a liking to Reza Shah and was thinking of revenge and fought against the Shah and behind Reza Shah’s back he was slandering the believers that his father wasinnocently killed by the order of Reza Shah.When everyone voted for the Islamic Republic on the 12th of Farvardin 1358, the day after the voting, he came by plane from France, the capital city of Paris, to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport and went straight toBehesht Zahra and insulted the government in his speechesand said, “I will decide the government.”I slap this government in the mouth and it said that there should be free water and electricity.Khomeini told a lot of lies and did not fulfill any ofthe promises he made.Khomeini was a moron.His father extorted souls from caravans.Ruholah Khomeini was a religious fanatic and extremist in religion and religion.Islam was one of his slogans, Islam must survive, and when Iran came, it chanted neither eastnor west, but now the Islamic Republic has a contract with eastern China and Russia.Khomeini was a liar, he did not fulfill the promises he made to the people, he saw families whose children were They were martyred by the illegitimate and illegitimate regime ofthe Islamic Republic on the street in 1401, 1400 and 1488. They chant this slogan, they say the death of Khamenei is cursed by Khomeini.When he became famous as the great leader of the revolution, he declared the activities of all parties illegal andsaid that the party was only Hezbollah after Khomeini’s speech on Friday in the Friday prayer of 1360, which was held at the University of Tehran, Khomeini’spro-Khomeini guards attacked the team houses of the People’s Mojahedin and some members of the Mojahedin organization,girls and boys, were arrested by Khomeini’s troops and guards and imprisoned for 7 years.More than three thousand political prisoners were massacred and executed by order of Khomeini in Shahid Rajaei Prison, Shahid Kajoyi Prison, Vakil Abad Prison, Mashhad and other large prisons ofthe country in 1367. This was the biggest horrible crime in history.

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