The probiotics also lowered triglycerides, VLDL, and markers of insulin resistance. There was no cognitive improvement in the placebo group.
The participants took 2 billion Bifidobacterium bacteria per day, which is a pretty small quantity of probiotics. It is likely that the probiotics are working through multiple mechanisms such as lowering inflammation and increasing neurotransmitters. Other studies have shown that gut bacteria are able to modulate the levels of GABA, norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine through the gut-brain axis.
I spoke with the gut experts, Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, about the importance of the gut microbiome in human health and the various foods (ie. fermentable fiber and other prebiotics) that provide our gut bacteria with the food they need to thrive. Here is the interview (also available on iTunes and Sticher): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZcbNw7sng