Subscribe to Dr. Meschino’s Free Newsletter

Subscribe Now

NMU 286 – Probiotic Supplement Decrease Inflammation and Free Radical Damage Normally Caused by Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 286 (May 2, 2023)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: Probiotic Supplement Decrease Inflammation and Free Radical Damage Normally Caused by Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Source: Journal Nutrients (2023)


A study published in the journal Nutrients in 2023, by researchers at the university of Camerino in Italy, showed that a multi-strain probiotic supplement may counter the negative effects of sleep deprivation on brain free radical damage as well as brain inflammation and inflammation throughout the body. A great deal of evidence shows that chronic sleep restriction is linked to a low-grade inflammation throughout the body and in the brain, (as triggered by brain immune cells called microglia cells). As well, insufficient sleep can lead to the accumulation of free radicals in our cells, which cause extensive damage, including to brain cells. Extensive free radical damage in the brain is key feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, MS, ALS, and others. Thus, reducing brain free radicals and brain inflammation is considered to be a very desirable preventive strategy.Chronic sleep deprivation is defined as sleeping less than seven hours per night, more than four hours per night. Previous studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can reduce inflammation through multiple pathways, including rebalancing of gut flora, improving gut permeability, and modulating immune function with lower production of inflammation-promoting cytokines seen in the bloodstream. Other studies have shown that probiotic supplements improve the function of brain microglia cells, which helps prevent brain inflammation.

How does sleep deprivation cause inflammation?

Studies suggest that sleep deprivation can alter the composition of gut microflora, increasing the ratio of unhealthy gut bacteria to friendly gut bacteria. It also appears to induce a breakdown of the gut barrier, and these changes together enable the passage of bacteria and their end-products into the blood stream, which trigger inflammatory reactions in the body and the brain. In mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease, probiotic supplements boosted brain antioxidant defences by turning on Sirtuin Longevity genes that activate the synthesis of important brain antioxidants like glutathione. In the 2023 study, researchers administered a multi-strain probiotic supplement to normal sleeping mice and in mice exposed to chronic sleep restriction and assessed the extent of free radical damage and inflammation in their brains and in the bloodstream. The results showed, as expected, that chronic sleep deprivation resulted in increased free radicals and inflammation and altered gut–brain axis, altering hormone levels. But in the chronic sleep deprived mice given the probiotic supplement, the probiotic supplement boosted their brain antioxidant function, reducing free radical damage to the brain, and it positively affected the gut-brain axis, resulting in lower blood markers of inflammation.

So, I think there are two important messages here:

  1. Don’t become chronically sleep deprived, as a great deal of evidence shows that it has very negative effects on your gut and your brain, with increasing amounts of inflammatory cytokines and free radical damage. Inflammation and free radical damage promote arthritic changes, autoimmune states, neurodegenerative diseases, a weakening of the immune system, more rapid aging, and a host of other problems.
  2. The use of a multi-strain probiotic supplement can help to maintain a healthier gut, reduce inflammation, and have a positive influence on brain antioxidant protection and brain inflammation. For many people taking a digestive enzyme supplement that also contains prebiotics can enhance the positive effects of probiotic supplementation. Prebiotics are the food (soluble fiber) that the friendly gut bacteria eat in order to thrive and reproduce in the large intestine. So, combining a probiotic supplement with a digestive enzyme-prebiotic supplement may provide an even greater benefit for some people.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.



Zheng Y et al. Probiotics supplementation attenuates inflammation and oxidative stress induced by chronic sleep restriction. J Nutrient. 2023, 15(6): 1518


Probiotic supplementation reduces inflammation and oxidative stress caused by chronic sleep loss. Neuroscience April 15, 2023.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

Facebook Comments