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Abstract

Background: Bacterial probiotics are thought to exert a serotonergic effect relevant to their potential antidepressant and pro-cognitive action, but yeast probiotics have not been tested. The aim of the present study was to determine whether 30-day supplementation with Saccharomyces boulardii affects the level of salivary serotonin under psychological stress and identify the factors associated with it.

Methods: Healthy medical students were randomized to ingest Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-1079 or placebo before a stressful event. Salivary serotonin concentration was assessed before and at the end of supplementation. Moreover, obtained results were compared to psychological, biochemical, physiological and sociodemographic study participants data.

Results: Data of thirty-two participants (22.8 ± 1.7 years of age, 16 males) was available for the main analysis. Supplementation with Saccharomyces boulardii decreased salivary serotonin concentration under psychological stress by 3.13 (95% CI 0.20 to 6.07) ng/mL, p = 0.037, as compared to placebo. Salivary serotonin was positively correlated with salivary metanephrine (β = 0.27, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.52, p = 0.031) and pulse rate (β = 0.28, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.50, p = 0.018), but insignificantly with anxiety, depression, eating attitudes and information retrieval.

Conclusions: Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-1079 may be distinct from bacterial probiotics in its salivary serotonergic effect, which appears positively linked to symapathoadrenal markers. The study requires cautious interpretation, and further investigation.

Keywords: Saccharomyces boulardii; anxiety; depression; dietary supplementation; probiotic; salivary serotonin; symapathoadrenal markers; yeast.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Saccharomyces boulardiiReduced Salivary Serotonin Levels in Response to StressBeneficial
Moderate
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