Administering the probiotics Bifidobacteriumanimalis subsp. lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus to patients recently discharged from the hospital for mania has shown a significant decrease in rehospitalization for relapse, according to a study published in Bipolar Disorders.

This study included 66 patients recently discharged from hospitalization for mania. Patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo (n=33) or supplemental Bifidobacterium animalis lactis strain Bb12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG (n=33) for 6 months following discharge. Cox regression models were used to analyze the association between treatment and rehospitalization risk, and an inflammation score was established to assess the regulating effect of systemic inflammation.

In the placebo group, there were 24 rehospitalizations during the 6-month period following discharge vs 8 rehospitalizations in the treatment group (P =.009). Patients who were administered probiotics experienced significant benefits in terms of time to rehospitalization (hazard ratio, 0.26; P =.007), as well as a shorter hospital stay (mean length of stay, 2.8 days vs 8.3 days, respectively P =.017). Higher baseline levels of systemic inflammation resulted in more pronounced effects of probiotic treatment.

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The study researchers concluded that “the adjunctive administration of a probiotic preparation containing defined levels of [L rhamnosus] GG and [Bifidobacterium animalis] lactis strain Bb12 resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of psychiatric rehospitalization in individuals recently discharged following hospitalization for mania. The probiotic compound was well tolerated and had low levels of side effects. The adjunctive use of probiotics might represent a major addition to the therapeutic armamentarium for the management of mania and other mood disorders.”


Dickerson F, Adamos M, Katsafanas E, et al. Adjunctive probiotic microorganisms to prevent rehospitalization in patients with acute mania: a randomized controlled trial [published online April 25, 2018]. Bipolar Disord. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12652