Study Shows Prebiotics May Fight Anxiety

Daily prebiotic intake can reduce anxiety levels and increase well-being in young women, according to new research.

Dreamstime S 195233033

In a paper published in Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Surrey found that four weeks of daily prebiotic intake can reduce anxiety levels and increase well-being in young women.

A group of 64 women between the ages of 18-25 years old, with no current or previous clinical diagnoses of anxiety, received either a daily dose of prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) or a placebo for 28 days. The participants completed surveys about their health experiences, including mood, anxiety and sleep quality, and provided a stool sample for gut microbiome sequencing analysis.

After four weeks, the study revealed that those who received a daily dose of prebiotics experienced improved mental well-being, with reduced anxiety levels and better gut health than the control group. The researchers believe that these results suggest that dietary supplementation with a GOS prebiotic may improve pre-clinical anxiety. 

"This new research marks a significant step forward in that we were able to show that we can use a simple and safe food supplement such as prebiotics to improve both the abundance of beneficial gut bacteria in the gut and to improve mental health and well-being in young women," said Dr. Kathrin Cohen Kadosh, reader in developmental cognitive neuroscience at the University of Surrey and head of the Social Brain and Development Lab.

More in Research