The impact of changes in habits during but also after COVID -19 to manage the so-called “new normal” generated among the population an unstable psychological condition, leading to a situation of high anxiety and stress levels. In this context, new strategies for managing these mental conditions were essential.
In this double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled clinical study, we investigated the ability of a dietary supplement containing two probiotic strains with the primary objective of supporting and reducing perceived stress during the pandemic period in terms of improved mood and sleep quality.
MATERIALS & METHODS
- Subjects participating in this study were healthy men and women, 25–60 years old, working at the Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences in the University of Calabria.
- Participants had a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score in the range 4–6 and a Profile of Mood State (POMS) in the range 10–30 (non-pathological mood disturbance).
- Exclusion criteria were the use of oral antibiotics within 30 days before the screening visit and use of drugs, food, or herbal supplements for the mood or sleep.
- At the screening visit, eligible subjects were enrolled in a two-treatment period (probiotic and placebo or vice versa, crossover study design) of 30 days each, alternated with a washout period of 30 days. The total duration of the study was 90 days.
- All participants completed a battery of validated psychological questionnaires, the Profile of Mood State (POMS) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), at the beginning and at the end of each treatment. Sessions were carried out half in person and half online. Each session lasted about 25 min.
Results obtained from this cross-over, double-blind clinical study demonstrated how probiotic intake could contribute to the modulation of mood and sleep during a stressful period. The Profile of Mood State questionnaire showed a decrease of the Total Mood Disturbance score, underlining a significant reduction compared to baseline.
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