Proprietary probiotic blend from Probiotical shown in recent study to support mood.


In the study, the probiotic blend called Bifizen helped improve depression and anxiety scores, as well as associated biomarkers.

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Photo ©

A multi-strain probiotic containing Limosilactobacillus fermentum LF16, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus LR06, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum LP01, and Bifidobacterium longum 04 was found to support mood and associated biomarkers in a recent study.1 The proprietary blend from Probiotical SpA (Novara, Italy) is called Bifizen. In the study, 70 healthy men and women were randomized to receive a single capsule of the multi-strain probiotic containing 4 × 109 colony forming units [CFU] or placebo for six weeks. Subjects were evaluated at baseline, two weeks, four weeks, and six weeks, as well as three weeks after ceasing supplementation. They completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity (LEIDS-R) questionnaires and had plasma concentrations of cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, and C-reactive protein determined.

The study was initiated just before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and restarted in September of 2020. “We encountered significant challenges in the performance of this trial and appreciate the commitment of the subjects who completed the study,” said lead researcher, Chad Kerksick, PhD, of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. “What remains intriguing is the influence of a global pandemic on the psychosocial and mental health of our otherwise healthy subjects. Our findings offer an enticing suggestion that Bifizen could have effects in persons living with sub-clinical depression and anxiety, but this would need to be borne out in systematic clinical trials in appropriate populations.”

Results showed that BDI, STAI, and total LEIDS-R scores were reduced compared to baseline for subjects taking the multi-strain probiotic after four and six weeks of supplementation, as well as three weeks after ceasing supplementation. No changes were reported in the placebo group. State anxiety, trait anxiety, and LEIDS-R (hopeless, aggression, rumination, and total score) saw significant reductions in the probiotic group, compared to placebo. After six weeks of supplementation and three weeks after supplementation ceased, subjects taking the multi-strain probiotic saw increases of plasma serotonin, compared to baseline, while no changes in plasma dopamine, C-reactive protein, or cortisol concentrations were observed between groups.

“We contemplated that although serotonin may be produced in the gut and enter the blood, it cannot be transported into the brain. Circulating serotonin increases may be a surrogate signal of other metabolites being produced in the gut, or influence neural signals from the gut to the brain, and mediate the positive changes in mood that we observed,” explained Kerksick. “We are finishing a different manuscript from this study, which characterizes the effects of Bifizen on sleep dynamics. Our data, combined with other data, point towards a biologically real and measurable impact.”

“We are inspired by these findings from Dr. Kerksick and his colleagues. Our 2019 study yielded promising results; this follow-up study extends the findings and includes the additional overlay of COVID-19. We are invigorated by these results and will continue to pursue the interface of the gut-brain axis and rationally designed probiotic formulations,” stated Probiotical SpA CEO Vera Mogna, in a press release.


Walden, K.E.; Moon, J.M.; Hagele, A.M.; Allen, L.E.; Gaige, C.J.; Krieger, J.M.; Jäger, R.; Mumford, P.W.; et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Impact of a Multi-Strain Probiotic on Self-Reported Indicators of Depression, Anxiety, Mood, and Associated Biomarkers. Front. Nutr. 2023, 10, DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1219313

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