Probiotics may improve decision making in people with fibromyalgia
There is increasing evidence that the gut microbiome may have an influence in many conditions and now it is coming under the spotlight in relation to fibromyalgia. The pilot study, published in Scientific Reports, highlights that probiotics may improve impulsivity and decision-making in people with the chronic pain condition.
Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria that are promoted as having health benefits. Often added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, they are also described as “good bacteria”.
A study group tested if a multispecies probiotic may improve cognition, emotional symptoms and functional state in a sample of people with fibromyalgia. They measured pain, impact of fibromyalgia, quality of life, anxiety and depressive symptoms before and after the probiotics were introduced. The volunteers also completed two computerised cognitive tasks to assess impulsive choice and decision-making. Finally, urinary cortisol concentration was determined (which measures levels of stress).
“Our results indicated that probiotics improved impulsivity and decision-making in these patients,” the team concludes. “However, more research is needed to further explore the potential effects of probiotics on other cognitive functions affected in fibromyalgia as well as in other clinical populations.”
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