In our fast-paced lives, we can all benefit from feeling calmer and having better sleep. Having a healthy vagus nerve plays a role in both outcomes by switching our bodies from flight-or-fight mode to rest-and-digest mode. The gut microbiota affects vagus nerve function, and it also can affect our ability to be calm and well-slept via other mechanisms involving endocrine, other neural, and immune pathways.
The connection between the gut microbiota and serenity and sleep is part of the brain-gut-microbiome connection. Research shows that mice without gut microbiomes show altered anxiety behavior, impaired ability to handle stress, and losses in social function and cognition. Thus, gut microbiomes are essential to normal brain and mood function, as well as whole-body functioning. However, imbalances in the gut microbiome can adversely affect mood and brain function.
Specific probiotics that have shown positive effects on mood and brain function are termed psychobiotics, and I have written about a few of them in the past. Most of them are Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus species. Research testing different species and strains shows that certain probiotics have better psychobiotic effects than others. A new psychobiotic has come to market, and it has exciting potential.
Bifidobacterium longum AH1714, also known as Bifidobacterium 1714 or simply 1714, was discovered over 10 years ago. It was originally isolated from a healthy human gut, and is proven to survive the human gut environment.
Bifidobacterium 1714 was first tested in innately-anxious mice in several studies. In one study, 1714 was compared to another probiotic and to the antidepressant escitalopram for 6 weeks. The probiotic reduced the stress and anxiety of mice during several challenges, such as stress-induced hyperthermia and marble-burying tests. It also reduced the time the mice would venture into an open area, which shows reduced anxiety, and reduced the equivalent of mouse-depression.
These results showed that 1714 had effects on murine stress and mood. Escitalopram, however, only showed positive results in the marble-burying test.
In another innately-anxious mouse study, cognition enhancements and visceral pain sensitivity reduction from Bifidobacterium 1714 were investigated for 11 weeks. Mice fed 1714 showed positive effects on cognition with better learning and memory than with another probiotic or placebo. There was no affect on visceral pain sensitivity.
Preclinical studies with rodents are insightful, but they still do not replace clinical studies in humans. Neuroimaging human studies are particularly enlightening. Human studies with and without neuroimaging with consumption of Bifidobacterium 1714 have shown positive results.
In a repeated measures, placebo-controlled trial of 22 healthy male adults, stress response, cognition, and brain activity patterns were assessed with a battery of tests and assessments. One billion CFU per day of the Bifidobacterium 1714 probiotic reduced the physiological and psychological response to an acute stressor, as well as longer-term daily perceived psychological stress. Subtle improvements in visuospatial memory performance and EEG-profiled memory were found compared to placebo. In summary, 1714 consumption was associated with reduced physical, mental, and emotional stress and improved memory.
Another human trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Bifidobacterium 1714 was investigated for its effects on neural responses to social stress in the form of social exclusion/rejection. This method of social stress is known to involve regions of the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and temporal cortex of the brain. Forty healthy male and female adults received either one billion CFU/d of 1714 or placebo for 4 weeks. Brain activity was measured using magnetoencephalography, and health status was measured via a health survey.
Results showed that 1714 modulated resting neural activity that correlated with enhanced vitality and reduced mental fatigue. It also modulated brain responses during social stress, which may indicate its ability to help the brain cope with negative emotions. These results show that Bifidobacterium 1714 may play a role in managing stress responses by affecting brain neural processes.
In another human trial published in 2021, 20 healthy male college students were enrolled. A randomized, placebo-controlled, repeated measures, cross-over intervention during exams was investigated to determine the effects of one billion CFU/day of Bifidobacterium 1714 on measures of stress (including hair and salivary cortisol), cognitive performance, and mood. Neuropsychological standardized tests were administered to all participants, and their self-reported measures of stress, depression, sleep, physical activity, gastrointestinal symptoms, cognition, and mood were assessed by questionnaire.
Results surprisingly showed that sleep quality and duration of sleep improved significantly in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group, while the other measures were not significantly affected. The small sample size of the study, with participants dropping out, and self-reported measures were limitations of this study, but nonetheless the results on sleep were intriguing and warrant further study.
From these studies, it appears that Bifidobacterium 1714 has positive effects on measured, unbiased human brain neural activity in various areas of the brain that may translate into better ability to cope with stressors and negative emotions. It also provided recorded improvements in sleep. While results showed it was beneficial for rodent cognition and had some positive results on human memory and mental fatigue, researchers want to continue investigating its effects on cognition in humans.
These results prove that Bifidobacterium 1714 satisfies the requirements to be considered a psychobiotic!
You can find Bifidobacterium 1714 in the products below in either my Wellevate or Fullscript dispensaries or directly through my account with Microbiome Labs. Note that Wellevate is now part of Fullscript.
The first product is Zenbiome Sleep to help with occasional sleeplessness by supporting sleep, promoting alpha brain waves, and enhancing vitality. This product per capsule contains 5 billion CFU of Bifidobacterium 1714 along with 200 mg of lemon balm leaf extract, an herb known for its calming abilities, and 200 mg of L-theanine, an amino acid in green and black teas that is also known for its calming abilities. Other ingredients are cellulose and a vegetable capsule of cellulose and water. The dosage is one capsule in the evening with or without a meal.
The second product is Zenbiome Cope to support the ability to cope with stress and mood changes. It contains 5 billion CFU of Bifidobacterium 1714 plus small amounts of vitamins B6 and B12 as well as a patented saffron extract. Other ingredients are cellulose and a vegetable capsule of cellulose and water. The dosage is 1-2 capsules in the morning with or without a meal.
The third product, Zenbiome Dual, is exciting because it not only contains Bifidobacterium 1714, but it also contains Bifidobacterium 35624, previously known as Bifidobacterium infantis 35624.
I think Bifidobacterium 35624 is such an incredible probiotic with tremendous amounts of research to support its use that I wrote an entire ebook about all the research surrounding the conditions it has been shown to support. You can find information about that ebook here.
The Zenbiome Dual supports both digestive comfort and mood self-regulation. The serving size is 2 capsules with 10 billion CFU of the combination of bifidos. The other ingredients are HPMC capsule, cellulose, and magnesium stearate.
See if these products with the new psychobiotic Bifidobacterium 1714 can help you!
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