Gut microbiota-derived vitamins - underrated powers of a multipotent ally in psychiatric health and disease

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 20;107:110240. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110240. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Abstract

Despite the well-established roles of B-vitamins and their deficiencies in health and disease, there is growing evidence indicating a key role of those nutrients in functions of the central nervous system and in psychopathology. Clinical data indicate the substantial role of B-vitamins in various psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and dementia, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. As enzymatic cofactors, B-vitamins are involved in many physiological processes such as the metabolism of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids, metabolism of tryptophan in the kynurenine pathway, homocysteine metabolism, synthesis and metabolism of various neurotransmitters and neurohormones including serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, acetylcholine, GABA, glutamate, D-serine, glycine, histamine and melatonin. Those vitamins are highly involved in brain energetic metabolism and respiration at the cellular level. They have a broad range of anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. Furthermore, some of those vitamins are involved in the regulation of permeability of the intestinal and blood-brain barriers. Despite the fact that a substantial amount of the above vitamins is acquired from various dietary sources, deficiencies are not uncommon, and it is estimated that micronutrient deficiencies affect about two billion people worldwide. The majority of gut-resident microbes and the broad range of bacteria available in fermented food, express genetic machinery enabling the synthesis and metabolism of B-vitamins and, consequently, intestinal microbiota and fermented food rich in probiotic bacteria are essential sources of B-vitamins for humans. All in all, there is growing evidence that intestinal bacteria-derived vitamins play a significant role in physiology and that dysregulation of the "microbiota-vitamins frontier" is related to various disorders. In this review, we will discuss the role of vitamins in mental health and explore the perspectives and potential of how gut microbiota-derived vitamins could contribute to mental health and psychiatric treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain-Gut Axis / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diet therapy
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / diet therapy
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / psychology

Substances

  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vitamin B Complex