Probiotic may improve stress and anxiety measures in healthy adults: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© nensuria / Getty Images
© nensuria / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotics gut-brain axis Lacticaseibacillus paracasei stress

Daily consumption of Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Lpc-37 may reduce markers of psychological and physiological stress and anxiety in healthy adults, says a new study.

Five weeks of supplementation with the probiotic at a dose of 17.5 billion colony forming units (CFU) per day was associated with significant reductions in perceived stress levels, compared to participants who took the placebo.

Sub-group analysis of the data from the Sisu study also indicated that study participants with high chronic stress who took the probiotic supplement reported increases in perceived health and sleep-related recovery.

The study, published recently in the journal Neurobiology of Stress​, was conducted using L. paracasei​ Lpc-37, which was recently launched as HOWARU Calm, part of the probiotics portfolio of IFF, formerly DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences​.

1st​ time that Lpc-37 has demonstrated activity within the microbiota-gut-brain axis

Elaine Patterson, PhD, Senior Scientist at IFF and lead author on the study told NutraIngredients-USA that Lpc-37 is already a well-documented strain from the company’s portfolio and has been included in over 20 clinical studies to date investigating different endpoints.

“It is just one of four probiotics included in our product HOWARU Restore which has been on the market for many years already,” ​she said. “HOWARU Restore is a documented probiotic blend shown to increase beneficial bacteria and restore gut health. This is the first time that Lpc-37 has demonstrated activity within the microbiota-gut-brain axis to influence brain health and the stress response.”

The Sisu study included 120 healthy adults aged between 18 and 45.

"The results of this clinical trial have only furthered our interest in the brain health space and we are looking forward to studying mechanistically how it as well other strains may be interracting in the gut-brain access."

- Stephanie Udell, Global Marketing, IFF

Dr Patterson explained that, in addition to the significant reductions in perceived stress levels  in the Lpc-37 group, other beneficial effects of the probiotic may be dependent on sex and daily/chronic stress levels since the researchers identified other significant effects of Lpc-37 in sub-groups of participants with high stress levels, low stress levels and in their female population, she said.

“Importantly, the results from our consumer perception study provided secondary support and reaffirm the clinical trial results, indicating consumers, specifically millennials, truly felt the results of this probiotic.” 


As reported by NutraIngredients-USA last summer​, US sales of stress management supplements, which includes mood support and sleep products, were reported to have increased over 35% year-on-year, according to data provided by SPINS.

Sales of these supplements in the mass channels* and natural channels** totaled almost $400 million from January to July 2020, compared with $294 million for the same previous period in 2019, equivalent to 35.7% growth.

In addition, data from 2020 NutraIngredients-USA​’s survey, ‘State of the North America Supplements, Health & Nutrition sector 2020’​, conducted in association with DuPont, found that, in addition to immune support products, our respondents viewed “stress management” as a big winner for 2020, with sleep support and probiotics rounding out the top three.

“The future is bright for Lpc-37”

Looking ahead, Dr Patterson said that the future is bright for Lpc-37: “We have now demonstrated in a clinical trial that Lpc-37 was associated with reduced perceived stress. What we now want to understand is how. Our pre-clinical trial showed us that Lpc-37 could reduce corticosterone in mice, which is the main stress hormone, but taking a closer look at the bioactivity of this strain is really important to us.

“And I have to wonder if the effects of Lpc-37 we observed in healthy participants could be further emphasized in patients of clinical anxiety.”

Dr Elaine Patterson will present the results of the Sisu study and more on February 9 at the Probiota Digital Summit. For more information and to register, please click HERE​.

Source:Neurobiology of Stress
Volume 13, November 2020, 100277, doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2020.100277
“Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Lpc-37 improves psychological and physiological markers of stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and parallel clinical trial (the Sisu study)”
Authors: E. Patterson et al.

* SPINS definitions for mass channel: The Conventional Multi-Outlet Channel (powered by IRI) covers the Grocery Outlet (store with $2M+ annual ACV), the Drug Outlet (chains and independent stores, excluding Rx sales), and selected retailers across Mass Merchandisers, including Walmart, Club, Dollar, and Military representing over 105,000 retail locations.

** SPINS’ Natural Enhanced Channel is composed of full-format stores with $2 million+ in annual sales and 40% or more of UPC coded sales from natural/organic/specialty products​. It Includes co-ops, associations, independents, and large regional chains (excludes Whole Foods & Trader Joes).

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