The gut-brain axis: a new leverage to improve brain conditions
Posted 18th January 2019 by Jane Williams
Recent progress in science pinpoints that the gut-brain axis may be modulated by a class of probiotics called psychobiotics. These progresses shed lights on a new area of research and new ways to treat a broad spectrum of complex central nervous system diseases.
The gut-brain axis
The gut-brain axis is used to describe the connection between the brain and the gut. The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system that integrates neural, hormonal and immunological signalling between the gut and the brain. Actually, the gut counts millions and millions of neurons that connect with the brain. The gut also hosts an important part of our immune system. This immune system communicates with the whole body, including the brain, through different molecules.
Thanks to major recent breakthroughs in science, this gut-brain axis is now evidenced to play an important role in physical and mental health. Recent research indicates that the gut microbiota influences the brain development and the behaviours of the host through the gut-brain axis. More interestingly, the gut-brain axis communication system may be modulated by a special class of probiotics (good bacteria) called psychobiotics. Psychobiotics can positively impact the brain to treat central nervous system diseases.
Psychobiotic PS128™ – the Key to Modulating Dopamine and Serotonin
Professor Ying-Chieh Tsai of National Yang-Ming University and his laboratory have identified and patented a psychobiotic: Lactobacillus plantarum PS128™. PS128™ was found to alter brain neurotransmitter levels when orally administered to early life-stressed mice. More specifically, it was demonstrated that PS128 is able to increase the level of two key neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin.
The levels of these two crucial neurotransmitters can be found decreased in certain brain conditions such as movement disorders and anxiety/depression. The effects of PS128™ on these brain conditions were first tested on mice after daily feeding. Results showed positive effects of PS128™ consumption on locomotor activities and depression-like behaviours. Similar effects on germ-free mice were observed, confirming the potential of PS128 to act on these brain conditions.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Clinical Study
Once the safety of use was assured, a first clinical study, double-blind vs placebo, started to confirm the potential of PS128™ on humans. This first study aimed to investigate the effects of PS128™ on male children aged 7-15 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a major concern of many countries and statistical analysis of populations shows intriguing increases of children diagnosed with ASD. For example, in Europe and USA, the kids diagnosed with ASD have more than doubled in the past decade. Currently incurable, families with autistic children are eager for solutions.
Preliminary results of PS128™ daily consumption on children with ASD show significant positive effects on some symptoms and a decrease of the severity of the ASD. More precisely, opposition and defiance are reduced. A diminution of the repetitive behaviours and an increase in social interactions are also observed. A recent post-market study revealed no major side effects after continuous months of consumption of PS128™. Due to its potent applications on brain conditions related to serotonin and dopamine, PS128™ is still undergoing research. For example, new human clinical studies on stress and Parkinson’s disease are currently under investigation. It has to be noted that stress and Parkinson’s disease symptoms are proved to be reduced after PS128™ consumption in their corresponding animal models.
To help people access PS128™
Based on these positive results of PS128™ consumption on brain conditions, a spin-out company was created: Bened Biomedical Co. Ltd which transfers the research results into products before to the market. In 2018, Bened Biomedical was able to supply partners in Mexico, USA, France, Philippines and Singapore with finished products based on PS128™. With the addition of contracts with Italian, Spanish, Malaysian and Australian brands, PS128™ benefits will be available for more and more people in the need of a safe alternative to drugs.
Alain Delpy is Senior International Business Development Manager at Bened Biomedical Co.