New Groundbreaking Research Confirms Brain Coping Centre Activation

April 18, 2019

Alimentary Health


Bifidobacterium longum strain improves stress processing and coping response in healthy volunteers

The Alimentary Health Group (AHG), a world leader in harnessing the power of the microbiome, today announced headline results of a human study completed in collaboration with the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen, Germany using the unique AHG strain, B. longum 1714TM.

The double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers showed for the first time that a probiotic enables better stress management by changing the central processing of stress stimuli. This study confirms what animal experiments suggested for a long time: specific probiotic strains, such as the 1714TM strain, can improve stress processing and make it easier for healthy people to deal with stress.

In this study, 40 healthy people took either B. longum 1714TM strain or a placebo daily for four weeks (double-blind design). Participants were exposed to a social stressor before and after the four-week period. This stressor was created using a ‘Cyberball game’, a standardised social stress test.  

Both before 1714TM strain intake and afterwards, the brain activity of subjects was measured with MEG (magnetoencephalography) during the game. It showed clearly that the 1714TM strain can produce changes in the brain regions associated with stress regulation:

Prior to stress, the 1714TM strain altered brain activity and was associated with increased vitality and reduced mental fatigue. This indicates improved adaptation or preparation (coping) for stressful situations and counter regulation of negative emotions.

During stress, the 1714TM strain changed the central processing of stress stimuli 

Mental wellness is rapidly becoming one of the greatest challenges in the modern world. Studies have shown that 35% of Americans reported increased levels of stress in the past year, with this figure growing to 39% for millennials. In Europe, around half of European workers consider stress to be common in their workplace, and it contributes to around half of all lost working days1

Dr Paul Enck (Head of Research at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, Tubingen, Germany) said:

‘As researchers in the placebo effect, we have been sceptical about many of the claims made about probiotics and the gut-brain axis. We have significant experience in the placebo effect and so our team designed a comprehensive double-blind placebo-controlled study to assess this strain.
We think the results are novel and innovative and provide a scientific basis to assess the true impact of specific bacterial strains on the brain.’  

Dr Barry Kiely, CEO of Alimentary Health Group said:

‘We are delighted with these ground-breaking results, which show the potential for targeted strains based on considered science. This research builds on earlier studies with our partners at APC Microbiome Ireland in University College Cork, who showed the 1714TM strain reduces stress output and stress responses in healthy subjects when exposed to an acute stressor.’

AHG subsidiary, PrecisionBiotics is commercialising the 1714TM strain as a food supplement brand Zenflore®, available on or on Amazon. PrecisionBiotics already commercialises AHG’s Alflorex® with the unique 35624® strain, in over 20 countries.

Alimentary Health Group to harness the power of targeted probiotic strains.

In addition to B. longum 1714TM strain, the portfolio of AHG strains offers enormous potential. AHG is working with partners on multiple opportunities for food supplements, ingredients and other areas of clinical interest.

Study design:

Methods: This was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.  The effects of the B. longum 1714TM strain on neural responses to social stress, induced by the “Cyberball game”, a standardised social stress paradigm, were studied. Forty healthy volunteers received either B. longum 1714TM strain or placebo for four weeks at a dose of 1x109 cfu/day. Brain activity was measured by magnetoencephalography (MEG) and health status by the SF36 form.

Study Results: The B. longum 1714TM strain altered resting state neural oscillations with an increase in theta band in the frontal and cingulate cortex (p < 0.05) and a decrease in beta-3 band in the hippocampus, fusiform, and temporal cortex (p < 0.05), both of which were associated with subjective vitality changes. All groups showed increased social stress after 4-weeks intervention. However, only B. longum 1714TM strain altered neural oscillation following social stress, with increased theta and alpha band power in the frontal and cingulate cortex ((p <0.05) and supramarginal gyrus (p <0.05).

Conclusion: B. longum 1714TM modulated resting neural activity that correlated with enhanced vitality and reduced mental fatigue. Furthermore, B. longum 1714TM modulated neural responses during social stress, which may be involved in the activation of brain coping centers to counter-regulate negative emotions

About The 1714TM strain:

The 1714TM strain is part of the Bifidobacterium longum proprietary EPS secretor (exopolysaccharide secretor) strain family of which AHG has a considerable portfolio of strains. Using a targeted approach to identification of strain characteristics, this strain has already been evaluated in human studies and further studies are underway.

About the Alimentary Health Group:

The Alimentary Health Group is a world leader in harnessing the power of the microbiome, discovering and developing probiotics that are recognized as best in class. We have an unparalleled portfolio of strains and work with leading experts in the microbiome and scientific fields. This has been recognised with our Bifidobacterium longum 35624® strain - the strain found in Alflorex® and Align® - now the Number 1 recommended strain by US Gastroenterologists and Doctors for IBS**. For almost 20 years, we have worked to develop, with leading centres of microbiome excellence, a unique portfolio of cultures that are native to the human microbiome and naturally at home there. 

About PrecisionBiotics:

PrecisionBiotics Ltd. is the commercial subsidiary of the Alimentary Heath Group, dedicated to bringing the best of nature's bacteria to help consumers and clinicians all over the world. Our PrecisionBiotics® products have been recognised as gold standard by healthcare professionals globally.




2. Allen et al. (2016). Bifidobacterium longum 1714 as a translational psychobiotic: modulation of stress, electrophysiology and neurocognition in healthy volunteers. Translational Psychiatry, 6(11), pp.e939-e939.

3.Among gastroenterologists who recommended a brand of bacterial culture in AlphaImpactRx 2008–2017 surveys. Among doctors who recommended a brand of bacterial culture in AlphaImpactRx 2017 survey.