Probiotics and Chronic Inflammatory Diseases Behavioral Symptoms

Probiotics are essential in improving digestion and immune function. They are fundamental in supporting proper microbial balance. Probiotics also play a key role in optimizing gut health.

Previous research has also demonstrated that probiotics can have beneficial effects on mood and cognition.

I recently shared a human study four months ago, published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Researchers found that multispecies probiotics had a positive effect on mood after four weeks of supplementation.

There is definitely a gut-brain relationship. Proper nutrition and a balanced microbiome support brain health and function. Indeed, gut and brain communicate through the nervous system, immune system, and hormones. Meanwhile, the microbiome can also release neurotransmitters.

Dysbiosis and Behavior

At the beginning of the year, a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology focused of the effects of stress and anxiety during pregnancy. They found that babies born to these mothers were more likely to suffer from dysbiosis. They were also more likely to exhibit psychological problems.

According to a new study just published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers demonstrated that probiotics may improve the behavioral symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. This by altering the communication between the immune system and the brain.


In this study, a research team at the University of Calgary fed mice with liver inflammation either a probiotic or a placebo. It found that the treatment reduced these behaviors.

The researchers monitored behavioral symptoms by measuring the amount of time the mice spent in social behaviors versus the time spent in isolation. As a result, the mice that received the probiotics spent more time engaged in social behaviors compared to mice that received a placebo. In addition, the mice that received the probiotics had lower blood levels of TNF-α and fewer activated immune cells in the brain compared to mice that received a placebo.


Chronic Autoimmune Diseases and Behavior

Chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease are associated with behavioral symptoms. Symptoms range from fatigue, depression, and social withdrawal. We must keep in mind that this is an animal study. Yet it does further reinforce the earlier human studies demonstrating that probiotics and the gut microbiome affect behavioral symptoms. Improvements occur by changing the communication between the immune system and the brain. This data also suggests that the gut microbiome may possibly be manipulated to regulate immunity. But also to regulate the neural circuitry that affects behavior.


Probiotics Improve Inflammation-Associated Sickness Behavior by Altering Communication between the Peripheral Immune System and the Brain. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29 July 2015, 35(30):10821-10830.