Can a probiotic defeat insomnia? Perhaps yes, at least based on very recent scientific research published in the journal Nutrients thanks to the work of a Chinese team (Lan et al, Nutrients, Nov 2023). Let's try to understand what the scientists say.
Bifidobacterium brevis, the probiotic that helps in case of insomnia, the study
Researchers recruited 40 volunteers, all with a diagnosis of insomnia caused by stress. The study participants were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take, every day for 1 month, a supplement containing a probiotic, Bifidobacterium brevis CCFM1025, in the quantity of 5 × 10^9 CFU. The second group instead had to take a placebo. At the end of the experiment, those who had taken the probiotic had a significant improvement in the quality of their sleep, as they themselves reported through a questionnaire. But the benefits were not just subjective. It was possible to observe that the probiotic Bifidobacterium brevis CCFM1025 reduced early awakening during the night, which is often associated with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and reduced the stress indicators themselves.
They are called psychoprobiotics and Bifidobacterium brevis CCFM1025 is one of them. They are probiotics that have shown a particular beneficial action on the psyche. In particular, Bifidobacterium brevis CCFM1025 has been shown to counteract depression, anxiety and Alzheimer's disease. The mechanism of action is believed to be multiple. On the one hand the probiotic protects the gut microbiota, improving its health and thus that of the brain thanks to the connection between these two organs, called the gut-brain axis, on the other hand it reduces inflammation and regulates the release of serotonin. The study we talked about today is very limited and to make the observed results solid, further research will have to be carried out on a broader segment of the population. However, the results are encouraging and show once again the importance of taking care of the health of the gut microbiota in order to have important benefits not only at a digestive level but also, as we have seen, to counteract the negative effects of stress and insomnia.