Gut-brain axis: probiotic strain may improve sleep quality, study finds

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

© vovashevchuk / Getty Images
© vovashevchuk / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotic gut-brain axis Gut health microbiome Sleep

A new study notes that intakes of a Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 probiotic significantly increased scores of sleep quality in a cohort suffering from insomnia, when compared to a control group.

Furthermore, the probiotic-treated group showed a more pronounced reduction in stress marker concentrations, which may have resulted from the significantly increased levels of the serum metabolite daidzein.

The Chinese researchers conclude: “In line with the anticipated outcomes based on preclinical research, Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 emerges as a promising candidate among psychobiotic strains for enhancing sleep quality.”

Gut-brain axis

It is known that sleep plays a vital role​ in various aspects of human health, such as learning, memory, emotional regulation, neurodevelopment, cardiovascular, and metabolic functions. Yet, various conditions including insomnia, sleep apnea, as well as stress and depression can disrupt sleep quality​, ultimately resulting in complications​ such as increased inflammation and cognitive impairment. The risk of developing serious long-term health conditions​ have also been observed to result from inadequate sleep, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

Over recent years, the gut-brain axis has been studied for its significant role​ in various neurological processes, due to the microbiome’s involvement in the production of immune and endocrine metabolites, as well as neurotransmitters and neuroactive metabolites.

Thus, studies​ have indicated the significant influence of treatments involving psychobiotic interventions, whereby improvements in stress and sleep measures have been observed. Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 has been previously studied​ for its effects on mental health conditions, whilst animal studies​ revealed its ability to increase the production of key metabolites involved in sleep regulation by modulating the gut microbiota.

To further build on these findings, the researchers conducted a clinical trial to investigate the impact of the CCFM1025 strain on sleep quality in a human cohort suffering with insomnia through observing the HPA axis activity.

Study specifics

The study included the recruitment of 40 participants who had been diagnosed with stress-induced insomnia, with test scores over seven on the Pittsbugh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)

They were randomly split into two groups, with one receiving the Bifidobacterium breve​ CCFM1025 probiotic at a dose of 5 × 109​ CFU and one receiving a placebo for a period of four weeks. Each were given as a daily sachet. Salivary cortisol was measured as well as serum metabolites and plasma measurements from blood samples.

It was reported that there was a significant decrease in scores of the PSQI in the group receiving the probiotic when compared to baseline scores.

In addition, there was a significant increase in the serum metabolite daidzein following intakes of the CCFM1025 probiotic when compared to the control group.

Science explained

The researchers concluded that the B. breve CCFM1025 ​probiotic demonstrates significant promise as a psychobiotic strain to enhance sleep quality based on the findings.

“The underlying mechanisms may involve the alleviation of HPA axis hyperactivity, suppression of the inflammatory response, modulation of the serotonergic system, and alteration of the gut microbiota composition.”

“Our correlation analysis further unveiled a negative relationship between stress indicators and the relative abundance of serum daidzein, suggesting that changes in serum daidzein levels due to CCFM1025 intervention may influence HPA axis activity, enhance awakening behaviour, and consequently improve sleep quality,” they added with regards to the significance of the increased serum daidzein levels.

The researchers urge for further larger scale RCTs to investigate the potential of the CCFM1025 probiotic and its influence on sleep quality.



Source: Nutrients

“Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 Improves Sleep Quality via Regulating the Activity of the HPA Axis: A Randomized Clinical Trial”

by Yuming Lan, Junjie Lu, Guohong Qiao, Xuhua Mao, Jianxin Zhao, Gang Wang, Peijun Tian and Wei Chen

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