Queensland researchers developing a radical new approach to treating depression are seeking 150 volunteers over the age of 18 to take part in a clinical trial.
Medical scientists from Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland will join forces to run a 16-week trial, which will assess the effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment of depression.
It is estimated that three million Australians live with depression or anxiety that affects their life and just over one-third of those will access professional treatment.
To take part in the trial, volunteers must have a diagnosis of depression, and can either be taking SSRI anti-depressants, or not taking any medication for the condition.
Principal investigator Dr Esben Strodl hopes the trial will confirm the benefits of probiotics on people with depression.
Probiotics are found naturally in the human body and are made up of good bacteria that works in harmony with gut bacteria.
“We are investigating whether the combination of probiotics and magnesium can help in managing deepression, given that many people with depression also exhibit gastrointestinal dysfunction,” Dr Strodl said.
Probiotics are believed to improve cell function, reduce inflammation and improve communication pathways in the brain.
Trial co-investigator Dr Matthew Bambling added that he was confident the trial would replicate the benefits they had seen in a previous study, which used magnesium orotate to boost healthy nervous system function.
“This clinical study follows on from two, small group pilot studies which produced significant results of positive clinical benefits to patients administered magnesium orotate, and orotate in combination with probiotic strains.
“We are hoping to see those results replicated in a larger cohort,” Dr Bambling said.
As part of the trial, participants will take capsules developed by Medlab Clinical Limited that are formulated to target the gut-brain axis and correlations between gut bacteria, gut inflammation and mental health. They are considered safe and have no known side effects.
If you struggle with depression and would like to participate in the study, contact Dr Sophie Parham or Dr Gabrielle Ritchie at [email protected]
If you or anyone you know needs support for depression you can contact beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36.
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