A study by Borre et al described these gut-brain disruptions as a 'domino effect' that could induce mental disease and a higher stress response later in life, or what is as known early-life stress.
“The concept of early-life stress (ELS) includes early stressful experiences occurring during childhood and adolescence. These traumatic experiences could be physical or emotional, for example parental loss, parental divorce, caregivers with psychiatric disturbance, childhood illnesses, deprivation of food or shelter and lack of encouragement and support,” explained Lucie Lingrand, Product Manager at Lallemand Health Solutions.
Indeed, infantile stress predisposes individuals to higher anxiety in adulthood. While the mechanisms by which early-life stress is triggered is still unclear, Lingrand pointed to animal and human studies that indicate that early environment affects biological functions and can lead to health issues. “In fact, the environment can have impacts not only in early life, but throughout adulthood and old age. However, despite being a clear risk factor of psychopathology, early-life stress cannot be considered as its one and only cause. Individual vulnerability to develop psychopathology includes several reasons, among these, genetics.”
Probiotics for stress
The Rosell Institute for Microbiome and Probiotics by Lallemand develops partnerships with key scientific experts in order to study the human microbiome and how probiotic supplements can be used to improve or maintain health.
Probiotics are a promising area of research with emerging evidence that specific strains can help boost mood and protect the body against the harmful physical and mental effects of stress. A 2018 study published in PLoS One suggests Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus has the most evidence indicating it could significantly reduce anxiety.
Now, a new in vivo study has found that early intake of Lacidofil prevented early-life stress consequences in rodents. This is the seventh study documenting various positive effects of this specific probiotic formula in early-life stress.
“Lacidofil (a combination of two probiotic strains L. rhamnosus Rosell-11 and L. helveticus Rosell-52) has been studied since 2006 for its effects on the brain-gut axis and early life stress. A total of 17 preclinical studies provide evidence that this probiotic supplement may be effective in preventing stress-induced intestinal abnormalities, and the results indicate that LACIDOFIL has an impact on the brain-gut axis in mammals. This probiotic is supported by 26 clinical studies: 13 in children, 13 in adults (including two with pregnant women),” explained Lingrand. “LACIDOFIL has been granted strong claims in Canada (NPN) on antibiotic as Harmon-Jonessociated diarrhea, H. pylori, vaginal flora, healthy microflora in adults and pregnant women undergoing antibiotic therapy. This highly documented formula is marketed in more than 20 countries under various registrations status.”
In this new study, Harmon-Jones et al demonstrated that an early loss of infantile amnesia, a critical stage in infant brain development in which children are believed to be learning to remember and to forget, is associated and directly correlated to a higher level of stress in childhood and behavioral issues later in life. After identifying this anxious phenotype in animals that exhibit better memory of an aversive association learned during infancy, the researchers examined whether probiotics would reduce anxiety-like behavior in these animals. In previous animal studies, Lacidofil was shown to restore a normal offset of infantile amnesia in animals exposed to early life stress due to maternal separation (Callaghan et al., 2016; Cowan et al., 2016; Peng et al., 2019). The same protective effect was observed in this new study on naturally occurring early offset of infantile amnesia when administered in early life, but not when administered in adulthood.
“These experiments are a promising first step and provide a preliminary rationale for the use of specific probiotics to prevent or reduce the negative impact of early offset of infantile amnesia,” noted Lingrand.
Since 2006, Lacidofil has been studied for its effects on the microbiome-gut-brain axis and early life stress. Twelve preclinical suggest that this probiotic may be effective in preventing stress-induced intestinal abnormalities. The research indicated that it has an impact on the brain-gut axis in mammals, which was found to prevent abnormalities in fear-related behavior, decrease anxiety-like behavior, and restore normal developmental trajectories in models of early-life stress.
Lingrand told NutraIngredients-USA that clinical studies would be an interesting next step to dig deeper into the subject of adulthood anxiety driven by early-life stress — and on the role a probiotic formula could play in overcoming such issues.
“These specific study findings are helpful to carry on looking for additional health benefits and positive impacts probiotics have. They encourage the scientific community and contribute to a better understanding on the value of the research and the understanding of the mechanism of actions of probiotics. As per most health benefits generated by probiotics, they are strain specific. These study findings are unique and can only be attributed to LACIDOFIL. They can inspire more research and development on the microbiome-gut-brain axis and early life stress.”
Source: Behaviour Research and Therapy
Vol 135, 2020,103763, doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103763
“Is good memory always a good thing? An early offset of infantile amnesia predicts anxiety-like behavior throughout development in rats”
Authors: S.Harmon-Jones et al.