Griffith University: Probiotics may reduce anticipatory stress response to night shift work

New research led by Griffith University has found probiotics may reduce the impact of anticipation stress in the lead up to nightshift and improve quality of sleep.

The study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, in collaboration with bioscience company Chr. Hansen investigated whether two probiotic formulations, Lactobacillus acidophilus, DDS-1® and Bifidobacterium, UABla-12™ could alter the impact of night shift on the immune system and gut.

The researchers gave 90 adults a probiotic supplement for 14 days in the lead-up to two nights of shift work. The study participants provided blood and stool samples and were asked to report symptoms of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness and other markers of quality of life. Participants also completed sleep quality assessments.


Dr Nic West
“Participants taking the placebo had changes in the immune system suggesting a greater stress response than those on the probiotic supplement. We know an over-responsive immune system can have deleterious effects on health,” said research leader Dr Nic West from Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“While awareness of some of the costs of night shift work has increased in recent years, many aspects of night shift work remain under-discussed. One of these aspects is ‘night shift stress’: the mental unease in anticipation of, or as consequence of, night shift work, coupled with challenged sleep.”

The findings provide initial evidence for the use of these probiotic strains to moderate the effects of night shift stress. Many participants on the probiotics also reported better quality sleep.

“Probiotic supplements have a strong record for use in respiratory and gastrointestinal illness and this study provides a new opening for potentially easing night shift stress,” Dr West said.

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