A study has looked into the association between probiotic intake and social anxiety. A total of 710 young adults self-reported on the amount of fermented food they consumed, in addition to measures of neuroticism and social anxiety they experienced. The study reported that significant and independent predictors of social anxiety were exercise, neuroticism, and the consumption of fermented food. When the researchers assessed participants exhibiting high levels of neuroticism, they found that a greater consumption of fermented foods in this group was associated with a reduction in symptoms of anxiety. The authors suggest that foods high in probiotics, such as fermented foods, may protect against symptoms of social anxiety.
Hilimire, MR, DeVylder, JE, Forestell, CA. “Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model” Psychiatry Research, Published Online: April 28, 2015.