Nutrition-based interventions for mood disorders

Expert Rev Neurother. 2021 Mar;21(3):303-315. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2021.1881482. Epub 2021 Mar 3.


Introduction: 'Nutritional Psychiatry' is an emerging area of research that has great potential as an adjunctive tool for the prevention and treatment of diverse neuropsychiatric disorders. Several nutrition-related aspects, such as obesity, dietary patterns, gut microbiome composition and gut permeability, bioactive food compounds, and nutrients can influence pathways implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders.Areas covered: Here, the authors review the current evidence on nutrition-mood interaction and nutrition-based treatments for the two main mood disorders, i.e., major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.Expert opinion: Consistent evidence from observational studies has pointed out the association between a 'healthy' diet, generally characterized by a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and good quality sources of protein (i.e. fish and/or seafood), and decreased risk of mood disorders and the parallel association between a 'Western' diet pattern and increased risk. However, only a few clinical trials have evaluated the effect of nutritional interventions on the treatment of these conditions. The bidirectional interaction between the brain and the gut, named 'brain-gut-microbiome axis' or 'gut-brain axis', plays a key role in the link between nutrition and mood disorders. Therefore, nutrition-based strategies for gut microbiota modulation are promising fields in mood disorders.

Keywords: Nutrition; bipolar disorder; depressive disorder; diet; microbiota; mood disorders; nutrients; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bipolar Disorder*
  • Brain-Gut Axis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major*
  • Diet
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / therapy