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Probiotics Could Ease Stress-Induced Intestinal Problems, Study Finds

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Probiotics could counteract the negative effects of stress on the gut, according to a new study in mice.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that stress can wreak havoc on the gut by inducing inflammation (which can lead to issues like diarrhea and belly pain, and make disorders like irritable bowel syndrome worse) because of its suppressive effect on inflammasomes. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that play a vital role in the body's innate immune system.

But researchers also found that giving mice probiotics seemed to reverse stress's effects on inflammasome. Probiotics are live bacteria that are known to aid in the digestive process.

"This study reveals an important mechanism for explaining why treating IBS patients with probiotics makes sense," study researcher Dr. John Y. Kao, M.D., an associate professor of internal medicine at the university, said in a statement.

The findings are published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Aside from aiding in digestive health, past research has also suggested that probiotics could play a role in improving bone density in mice.

For more ways probiotics can aid health, click through the slideshow:

What Probiotics Can Do
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