Probiotics improve mental and physical health in multiple sclerosis Original paper

In this randomized controlled study in adults with multiple sclerosis, supplementing with a probiotic yeast improved mental health, fatigue, quality of life, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

This Study Summary was published on February 9, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this randomized controlled study in adults with multiple sclerosis, supplementing with a probiotic yeast improved mental health, fatigue, quality of life, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

What was studied?

Whether the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii can improve subjective and objective health measures in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The primary outcome was mental health. The secondary outcomes included fatigue, pain, quality of life, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Who was studied?

50 adults from Iran (average age of 34; 35 women and 15 men) who were diagnosed with relapse-remitting MS.

How was it studied?

In this 4-month randomized controlled study, the participants were given 250 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii (containing 10.1 billion colony forming units) or a placebo to consume daily after lunch. In addition, both groups were encouraged to supplement with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. All of the participants continued their usual MS treatment during the study, which could include up to 2 grams per day of acetaminophen.

Mental health was assessed using the 28-question General Health Questionnaire, with subscales for somatic, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction, and depression. Fatigue was assessed using the Fatigue Severity Scale, pain was assessed using a visual analog scale, quality of life was assessed using the 36-item Short Form questionnaire, inflammation was assessed using high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), and oxidative stress was assessed using total antioxidant capacity and malondialdehyde.

What were the results?

The General Health Questionnaire somatic subscale and social dysfunction subscales improved in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group. Pain intensity and fatigue also improved in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group.

Regarding quality of life, several questionnaire subscales improved in the probiotic group: physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, social functioning, vitality, pain, and physical health.

Finally, CRP decreased and TAC increased (improved) in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group.

This Study Summary was published on February 9, 2024.