Synbiotics for stress: study observes reduced markers of inflammation

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Synbiotics for stress: study observes reduced markers of inflammation

Related tags synbiotics microbiome Gut health gut brain axis chronic fatigue syndrome

The new study finds that those suffering with Fibromyalgia (FM) administered the synbiotic showed a significant reduction in the inflammatory marker IL-8, as well as perceived stress and anxiety levels.

In addition, it was noted that the synbiotic enabled for the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), with subsequent cortisol releases regulating inflammation levels.

The synbiotic contained Bifidobacterium lactis​ CBP-001010, Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ CNCM I-4036, and Bifidobacterium longum​ ES1, as well as the fructooligosaccharides prebiotic.

The Spanish researchers stress: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first investigation in this context, all this with the aim of helping to a correct prescription of adjuvant treatments that improve the quality of life of these patients, allowing a better differential diagnosis between both syndromes​.”

The summarise: “It is concluded that synbiotic nutritional supplements can improve the dysregulated immuno-neuroendocrine interaction involving inflammatory and stress responses in women diagnosed with FM, particularly in those without a previous CFS diagnostic; as well as their perceived of levels stress, anxiety, depression and quality of life.”

Gut-brain axis

FM is defined as a condition involving chronic pain, which can result in a number of further symptoms such as mental health conditions, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. Thus, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) occurs frequently together with FM, whereby patients are faced with persistent fatigue over a period exceeding six months. It has been noted​ that this comorbidity is prevalent across 20-81% individuals.

Despite a lack of a known cause for such conditions, the involvement of the central nervous system and inflammatory responses have been established​ to play a significant role. Following the involvement of these systems with the microbiota, researchers have previously noted​ significantly different microbiomes in patients suffering with FM and CFS. Reduced quantities of Escherichia coli and Bifidobacterium were noted, as well as significantly higher inflammatory markers.

Following this, the potential utilisation of supplements such as probiotics or synbiotics has been proposed to alleviate symptoms of FM and associated CFS, yet there is a lack of studies investigating their efficacy as treatment options. Therefore, the researchers conducted the study to investigate this potential relationship.


The study involved the recruitment of 15 women diagnosed with FM aged 40-67 years, with seven diagnosed with additional CFS and eight without the condition.

The subjects were administered a synbiotic in the form as a ‘Gasteel Plus’ bar, containing the freeze-dried probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium lactis​ CBP-001010, Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ CNCM I-4036, and Bifidobacterium longum​ ES1, as well as fructooligosaccharides (200 mg) as a prebiotic. Participants were assessed at baseline and after the one-month intervention period.

Following elevated baseline levels of inflammatory markers, such as IL-8, it was reported that the synbiotic was able to significantly decrease their systemic concentration in the FM patients without CFS. They also reported subsequent reduced levels of perceived stress and anxiety. In addition, depression levels were reduced, as well as increasing overall quality of life measures.

It was also observed that the synbiotic led to the stimulation of the HPA axis, enabling for cortisol release to regulate inflammation levels.


The study provides evidence suggesting the improvement to those suffering from conditions involving deregulated inflammatory responses.

With regards to the proposed mechanism of action, the report explains: “According with the results of the present investigation, some authors proposed that microbiota-induced improve in mucosal barrier function after probiotic administration underly the decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines that mediate the improvements in emotional and cognitive symptoms via a better inmunoneuroendocrine regulation.

“In addition, inflammatory and stress responses are bidirectionally regulated. Thus, pro-inflammatory cytokines stimulate the HPA axis, inducing an increase in glucocorticoid levels, which in turn protect the organism from an overproduction of inflammatory cytokines,” ​they add.

However, it is worth noting that the female-only sample was relatively small, without the inclusion of a control group to compare responses within healthy individuals. Therefore, the researchers note the importance of future longer-term studies investigating this effect within FM and CFS groups separately, to enable for greater levels of control.



Source: Nutrients

“Synbiotic Supplementation Improves Quality of Life and Inmunoneuroendocrine Response in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Influence of Codiagnosis with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

by María Dolores Hinchado, Carmen Daniela Quero-Calero, Eduardo Otero, Isabel Gálvez and Eduardo Ortega

Related topics Research

Follow us


View more