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Titti Niskanen

Director R&D and Clinical Operations

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News - 27 Aug 2020

New clinical results on stress with the probiotic strain L. plantarum HEAL9 (HEAL9™)

The connection between the intestine and the brain is usually referred to as the gut-brain axis. This is an evolving area to study, as maintaining or improving mental health is of growing interest for many people. The number of chronically stressed people has during recent years increased dramatically. Mental health has even been addressed by the World Health Organization (WHO)1, as it has great impact on individuals as well as on our society in general.

Probiotic bacteria have been found to play a role in various psychological functions. The mode of action is believed to be mostly through changes to the intestinal microbiota. This can in turn influence the immune system and signaling molecules that are involved in stress responses.2-3

In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized study, Probiˈs proprietary strain L. plantarum HEAL9 was given to chronically stressed individuals for four weeks. At the end of this intervention period, an acute stress-test was performed where a job-interview and mathematical assignment were to be performed in a virtual-reality environment.

The results of the study showed significant improvements in immune-related biomarkers after intake of L. plantarum HEAL9 compared to placebo4. These specific markers were investigated during acute stress for the first time, but are known to be associated with various stress-related health problems. This exploratory study provides new insight and a platform for continued research within the field of probiotics for supporting mental health.

2. Mayer E.A. 2011. Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut-brain communication. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 12(8), 453-466.
3. Grenham S., Clarke G., et al. 2011. Brain-gut-microbe communication in health and disease. Front. Physiol., 2, 94.
4. Önning G., Hillman M., et al. 2020. Intake of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum HEAL9 reduces the inflammatory markers soluble fractalkine and CD163 during acute stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Physiol. Behav., 225, 113083.

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