Feeding melancholic microbes: MyNewGut recommendations on diet and mood

Clin Nutr. 2019 Oct;38(5):1995-2001. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.11.010. Epub 2018 Nov 17.


Depression is a highly prevalent disorder which exerts a major economic impact in all European countries. The brain-gut-microbiota axis has been described as a new paradigm for advancing understanding and treatment of the disorder. There is now over-whelming evidence to support the fact that gut microbes have a major impact on central neurochemistry and behaviour, especially stress related disorders such as depression. Recent studies indicate that patients with depression have a gut dysbiosis. The reason for this dysbiosis is uncertain. Over recent decades, dietary patterns in Europe and elsewhere have undergone major compositional changes, with increased intakes of red meat, high fat foods, and refined sugars. Individuals who consume a Mediterranean diet have lower rates of depression and a recent study suggests that a Mediterranean diet may have antidepressant properties. Assuming this to be the case, which components of the Mediterranean diet mediate the effects? Highly levels of polyphenols or polyunsaturated fatty acids are obvious candidates. We in the MyNewGut consortium recommend that patients with depression or vulnerability to depression should be encouraged to enhance a plant-based diet with a high content of grains/fibres and fish.

Keywords: Depression; Diet; Dysbiosis; Gut microbiota; MyNewGut.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Depression*
  • Diet*
  • Dysbiosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans