The aim of this work has been to compile the latest scientific evidence about the communication pathways between the nervous system and the intestine, as well as the influence of the intestinal microbiota on anxiety. Subsequently, information has been collected about preclinical and clinical trials with prebiotics and probiotics for anxiety management and their efficacy and safety has been discussed. The advantages of administering prebiotics and probiotics through pharmaceutical presentations with respect to foods are also mentioned.
For this purpose, a search has been carried out in scientific databases, using only articles published in prestigious international journals and prioritizing the articles published in recent years.
The intestinal microbiota and the central nervous system are connected by various mechanisms, which are collectively called the “intestine-brain axis”. According to recent evidence, the most important means of communication between the two organs is the vagus nerve.
Patients are often very reluctant to change their eating habits significantly. Thus, the administration of prebiotics and probiotics by means of pharmaceutical presentations can facilitate this process, better controlling the dose administered and decreasing the rates of early abandonment of treatments. Although in all cases prebiotics and probiotics have not shown positive effects, in none have shown adverse effects in response to the use of them, so it can be concluded that their administration is safe.