Psychobiotic Lactobacillus plantarum JYLP-326 relieves anxiety, depression, and insomnia symptoms in test anxious college via modulating the gut microbiota and its metabolism.

Frontiers in immunology. 2023;14:1158137
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Test anxiety, characterised by feelings of failure, tension, and worrying when an individual faces a vital test for promoting, occurs prevalently among college students. Lactobacillus plantarum, has become increasingly popular in reducing the severity of anxiety and depression in stressed animal models. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the psychological effects of Lactobacillus plantarum JYLP-326 (JYLP-326) on exam stress-induced behaviours like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. This study enrolled 60 anxious and 30 un-anxious undergraduates preparing for the approaching exams. Out of the 60 anxious participants, 30 were selected randomly to receive the probiotic product and the other 30 received a placebo product. The 30 un-anxious students were assigned as the healthy control group. Results demonstrated that the intervention of JYLP-326 is effective in alleviating exam stress-induced symptoms in college students. Furthermore, it also protected against exam stress-induced dysbiosis of the gut microbiota and the disturbances of faecal metabolomic. Authors conclude that the changed gut microbiota genera and faecal metabolites were closely associated with stress-related symptoms like anxiety/depression and insomnia, indicating that they might be regarded as biomarkers for diagnosing and treating stress and anxiety disorders.


INTRODUCTION Test anxiety is a common issue among college students, which can affect their physical and psychological health. However, effective interventions or therapeutic strategies are still lacking. This study aims to evaluate the potential effects of Lactobacillus plantarum JYLP-326 on test anxious college students. METHODS Sixty anxious students were enrolled and randomly allocated to the placebo group and the probiotic group. Both groups were instructed to take placebo and JYLP-326 products twice per day for three weeks, respectively. Thirty unanxious students with no treatments were assigned to a regular control group. The anxiety, depression, and insomnia questionnaires were used to measure students' mental states at the baseline and the end of this study. 16S rRNA sequencing and untargeted metabolomics were performed to analyze the changes in the gut microbiota and fecal metabolism. RESULTS The questionnaire results suggested that JYLP-326 administration could relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia in test anxious students. The gut microbiomes of the placebo group showed a significantly greater diversity index than the control group (p < 0.05). An increased abundance of Bacteroides and Roseburia at the genus level was observed in the placebo group, and the relative abundance of Prevotella and Bifidobacterium decreased. Whereas, JYLP-326 administration could partly restore the disturbed gut microbiota. Additionally, test anxiety was correlated with disordered fecal metabolomics such as a higher Ethyl sulfate and a lower Cyclohexylamine, which could be reversed after taking JYLP-326. Furthermore, the changed microbiota and fecal metabolites were significantly associated with anxiety-related symptoms. CONCLUSION The results indicate that the intervention of L. plantarum JYLP-326 could be an effective strategy to alleviate anxiety, depression, and insomnia in test anxious college students. The potential mechanism underlying this effect could be related to the regulation of gut microbiota and fecal metabolites.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Neurological ; Digestive, absorptive and microbiological
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Gut microbiota
Environmental Inputs : Nutrients ; Microorganisms ; Mind and spirit
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Psychological
Functional Laboratory Testing : Stool
Bioactive Substances : Probiotics

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 3
Allocation concealment : Yes


Nutrition Evidence keywords : Gut microbiota ; Probiotics ; Dysbiosis ; Stress ; Anxiety ; Depression