Probiotics, Prebiotics and Postbiotics on Mitigation of Depression Symptoms: Modulation of the Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis

Biomolecules. 2021 Jul 7;11(7):1000. doi: 10.3390/biom11071000.


The brain-gut-microbiome axis is a bidirectional communication pathway between the gut microbiota and the central nervous system. The growing interest in the gut microbiota and mechanisms of its interaction with the brain has contributed to the considerable attention given to the potential use of probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics in the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders. This review discusses the up-to-date findings in preclinical and clinical trials regarding the use of pro-, pre- and postbiotics in depressive disorders. Studies in rodent models of depression show that some of them inhibit inflammation, decrease corticosterone level and change the level of neurometabolites, which consequently lead to mitigation of the symptoms of depression. Moreover, certain clinical studies have indicated improvement in mood as well as changes in biochemical parameters in patients suffering from depressive disorders.

Keywords: brain–gut–microbiome axis; depression; microbiota; postbiotics; prebiotics; probiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Depressive Disorder* / metabolism
  • Depressive Disorder* / microbiology
  • Depressive Disorder* / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*


  • Prebiotics