Study Overview: Fermented Dairy Products and the Risk of Depressive Symptoms

Accumulating evidence suggests that the gastrointestinal microbiota may influence brain health and behaviours. Research indicates that nutritional interventions influence the gut-brain axis, with probiotics at the forefront of the topic. To this effect, a meta-analysis of 8 cohort studies including 83,533 participants investigated the link between fermented dairy foods and depression.

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The gut-brain axis has been a subject of increasing interest, as mounting evidence suggests that the microbiota may have widespread impacts on health and well-being, which include modulating brain function. Consequently, attention is being drawn towards the impact of fermented foods that contain probiotics on mental health.

A meta-analysis of 8 cohort studies including 83,533 participants investigated the association between fermented dairy foods and the risk of depression. Overall, fermented dairy food intake was associated with a decreased likelihood of experiencing depression.1 More specifically, cheese and yogurt consumption were linked to a reduction of depression risk of 9% and 14%, respectively. The authors suggest certain potential mechanisms by which fermented dairy foods may confer these benefits, including the reduction of gut inflammation, decreased intestinal permeability, stress reduction via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and altering GABA receptor expression.

These results contribute to increasing data indicating that fermented dairy foods may have beneficial effects on mental health.

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