Prebiotic supplements are specialized fibers introduced in the body to make up for the food sources of beneficial bacteria in the human gut. They fill the gut with beneficial nutrients, improving probiotic metabolic issues and maintain a healthy weight. A recently published study has highlighted another reason to use prebiotic supplements in routine, especially if a person is at high risk of anxiety disorders. According to this study, taking one supplement per day lowers the risk of anxiety and related conditions in adult users.
This study is published in the journal Scientific Reports and available to read online.
The research experts from the University of Surrey worked on finding the role of prebiotic supplements in anxiety management. They studied individuals between 18 to 25 years of age, who were given a daily dose of these prebiotic supplements and analyzed for changes in their anxiety levels and overall well-being. Based on the results, it was clear that the supplement users experience better gut health and stress response as compared to the control group.
They chose 64 healthy women with no prior disease or medical history of anxiety. The reason to choose women participants was their high susceptibility of being a victim of anxiety. Typically, women are twice more likely to experience anxiety and related conditions than men. All of the participants of this study were provided with prebiotic galactooligosaccharides (GOS) or a placebo supplement for a maximum of 28 days.
All these participants who were a part of this trial were asked to complete a survey reporting the health changes that feel in terms of mood, stress, sleep, anxiety, and stool analysis to analyze gut health.
Dr. Kathrin Cohen Kadosh from the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (University of Surrey) heads the lab on Social Brain and Development. She has commented on this study saying that it is a big achievement that can help determine the changes caused by daily prebiotic supplements for determining anxiety risk. based on the changes inside the gut, it is possible to experience improved mental health and low stress levels especially in younger women who are more likely to become anxious than men.
Dr. Nicola Johnstone is a Research Associate at the University of Surrey. According to him, this study is very exciting because it discusses various dimensions of dietary supplements and their role in mental health.
People are not much likely to give importance to mental health which increases their risk even more. This pandemic is the best time to prioritize mental health and do everything that it takes to lower stress levels, making this difficult time more manageable as the world is battling with a deadly pandemic.
The use of prebiotics is common for its benefits to gut health. making them a daily habit can also save a person from a stress-related disorder, without taking an additional supplement. Despite showing promising results, these effects are only investigated in women which may add a limitation. More studies are needed to confirm these benefits in men and older people before suggesting them as off-label prevention and treatment of anxiety.