More than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. Treatments vary from cognitive behavioral therapy to antidepressants; however, researchers at the University of Virginia may have found an alternative to medicine that you can pick up at any grocery store. In a study led by Alban Gaultier, the team found that yogurt, specifically probiotics, showed promise in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In the study, researchers found that mice with depression and anxiety lacked a class of probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria) called Lactobacillus, WTKR reported. When researchers gave the mice probiotics, depression and anxiety symptoms reportedly “went away.”
“We were able to correct depression and anxiety [by giving back] one bacteria,” Gaultier said. “If you could just modify your diet or take a bacteria by mouth instead of taking pills for 10 years, wouldn’t that be simpler and better?”
Although results were promising, Gaultier says it’s too early to definitively substitute yogurt or probiotic supplements for traditional treatment. According to Gaultier, the University of Virginia is in the process of raising funds to pursue the research for human trials.