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Psychobiotics were previously defined as live bacteria (probiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with commensal gut bacteria. We expand this definition to encompass prebiotics, which enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. We review probiotic and prebiotic effects on emotional, cognitive, systemic, and neural variables relevant to health and disease. We discuss gut-brain signalling mechanisms enabling psychobiotic effects, such as metabolite production. Overall, knowledge of how the microbiome responds to exogenous influence remains limited. We tabulate several important research questions and issues, exploration of which will generate both mechanistic insights and facilitate future psychobiotic development. We suggest the definition of psychobiotics be expanded beyond probiotics and prebiotics to include other means of influencing the microbiome.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends Neurosci

Publication Date

11/2016

Volume

39

Pages

763 - 781

Keywords

gut–brain axis, interkingdom signalling, microbiome, microbiota, prebiotics, probiotics, Animals, Brain, Emotions, Gastrointestinal Tract, Humans, Microbiota, Prebiotics, Probiotics