Psychobiotics in mental health, neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders

Li Hao Cheng, Yen Wenn Liu, Chien Chen Wu, Sabrina Wang, Ying Chieh Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Psychobiotics are a group of probiotics that affect the central nervous system (CNS) related functions and behaviors mediated by the gut-brain-axis (GBA) via immune, humoral, neural, and metabolic pathways to improve not only the gastrointestinal (GI) function but also the antidepressant and anxiolytic capacity. As a novel class of probiotics, the application of psychobiotics has led researchers to focus on a new area in neuroscience. In the past five years, some psychobiotics strains were reported to inhibit inflammation and decreased cortisol levels, resulting in an amelioration of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Psychobiotics are efficacious in improving neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Parkinson's disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Use of psychobiotics can improve GI function, ASD symptoms, motor functions of patients with PD and cognition in patients with AD. However, the evidence for the effects of psychobiotics on mental and neurological conditions/disorders remains limited. Further studies of psychobiotics are needed in order to determine into their effectiveness and mechanism as treatments for various psychiatric disorders in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-648
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Food and Drug Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Bifidobacterium
  • Lactobacillus
  • Probiotics
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Psychobiotics


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