Could probiotics help with depression? Yes, say Malaysian researchers, but. And — despite what you might read on social media — it’s a big but.
The yes: “It has been proven that different strains of probiotics exert anti-depressive potential via distinct mechanisms,” they write. Low amounts of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, for example, seem to correlate with higher depression risk, while higher levels of Eggerthella is associated with major depressive disorders.
The but: That’s all great in theory, but finding the actual probiotic cocktails to help with depression — a simple pill or food — “will be challenging and elusive.” There just haven’t been enough studies, and we know how complex the microbiome is.
Still, they say, it’s worth studying:
[I]t seems only fitting that scientists and industrialists consider developing probiotic strains that effectively ameliorate depression by tackling different neurobiological and genetic bases of this disorder.