Effect of a Multi-Strain Probiotic Supplementation to Manage Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Clinical Trial

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a global, unprecedented crisis that involved public health, economic system, and society in general, affecting populations all over the world. As a consequence, people had to face not only the health emergency and the economic crisis but also the insecurity of the future and the fear for their health and employment. Furthermore, restrictions like social distancing and lockdowns led to a worsening of the quality of life, both from a physical and a psychological point of view .

In Italy, the ongoing uncertainty due to the oscillation from strict to less strict restrictions (and vice versa) produced an increasingly unstable psychological condition, leading to a situation of high anxiety and stress level in the population. Moreover, the impact of introducing changes in work habits (i.e., smart working, layoffs, children at home, and distance learning) to manage the so-called “new normal” further exacerbated this mental state [8–10]. In this context, the need of new strategies for managing stressful conditions has become warranted. Scientific evidence pointed out that stress induces several physiological alterations such as cortisol increases and sleep disturbances. Indeed, long-duration stress

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