Recent demonstration that probiotics administration has positive effects on mood state in healthy populations suggests its possible role as an adjunctive therapy for depression in clinical populations and as a non-invasive strategy to prevent depressive mood state in healthy individuals. The present study extends current knowledge on the beneficial effects of probiotics on psychological well-being, as measured by changes in mood (e.g., cognitive reactivity to sad mood, depression, and anxiety), personality dimensions, and quality of sleep, which have been considered as related to mood. For this double-blind, placebo-controlled study 38 healthy volunteers assigned to an experimental or control group assumed a daily dose of a probiotic mixture (containing Lactobacillus fermentum LF16, L. rhamnosus LR06, L. plantarum LP01, and Bifidobacterium longum BL04) or placebo, respectively, for 6 weeks. Mood, personality dimensions, and sleep quality were assessed four times (before the beginning of the study, at 3 and 6 weeks, and at 3 weeks of washout). A significant improvement in mood was observed in the experimental group, with a reduction in depressive mood state, anger, and fatigue, and an improvement in sleep quality. No between-groups differences were found. These findings corroborate the positive effect of probiotics on mood state and suggest that probiotics administration may improve psychological well-being by ameliorating aspects of mood and sleep quality.
Keywords: mood; personality traits; probiotics; psychological well-being; sleep quality.