Dietary fiber and its associations with depression and inflammation

Nutr Rev. 2020 May 1;78(5):394-411. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz072.


Dietary fiber is a crucial component of a healthy diet, with benefits that can be attributed to processes in the gut microbiota and the resulting by-products. Observational studies support associations between dietary fiber intake and depression and inflammation, but the potential mechanisms are poorly understood. This review examines evidence of the effects of dietary fiber on depression and inflammation and considers plausible mechanisms linking dietary fiber and depression, including microbiota-driven modification of gene expression and increased production of neurotransmitters. Additionally, inflammation may mediate the relationship between dietary fiber intake and depression. A high-fiber diet potentially lowers inflammation by modifying both the pH and the permeability of the gut. The resultant reduction in inflammatory compounds may alter neurotransmitter concentrations to reduce symptoms of depression. Further research into the link between dietary fiber intake and inflammation and depression is essential, as findings could potentially provide guidance for improvement in or prevention of inflammatory and depressive disorders.

Keywords: depression; dietary fiber; inflammation; mental health; microbiota.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depression*
  • Dietary Fiber*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*


  • Dietary Fiber