Gut bacteria have been awarded with a lot of importance by nutritionists and health experts, due to growing evidence of their involvement in the smooth running of a number of body functions. From ascertaining a healthy skin to a healthy digestive system and now even a healthy mind, the bacteria residing in your gut have been found to be important by a number of scientific studies. A new study has now said that regulating gut microbiota may also help in alleviating anxiety- a condition characterised by excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. The study indicated that people suffering from the condition may benefit from consuming probiotic foods and dietary supplements that help the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
The study titled, "Effects of regulating intestinal microbiota on anxiety symptoms: A systematic review", was published in the journal General Psychiatry. The study was based on the premise that a number of basic studies have been pointing towards the beneficial impacts of gut microbiota, especially for improving brain function. The paper combined the results from 21 independent studies that combined the data from 1,503 subjects or participants. Out of the 21 studies, 14 looked at the impact of probiotic supplements as intervention in anxiety disorders, while the rest of the six studies looked at the impact of non-probiotic methods like changes in the daily diets of the participants.
All the studies basically looked at regulation of intestinal microbiota as a measure to control symptoms of anxiety. 11 of the 21 studies showed that there were positive impacts of changing your gut microbiota, against anxiety. However, a small fraction of the studies showed that this particular measure was not effective in controlling anxiety. The study concluded by saying, "We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of intestinal microbiota. There are two kinds of interventions (probiotic and non-probiotic interventions) to regulate intestinal microbiota, and it should be highlighted that the non-probiotic interventions were more effective than the probiotic interventions. More studies are needed to clarify this conclusion since we still cannot run meta-analysis so far."
Including fermented foods like yogurt, pickles, kombucha and even prebiotic foods like garlic and onions, in your daily diet is said to improve intestinal microbiota.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)