Purpose of review
With depressive disorders the leading source of disability globally, the identification of new targets for prevention and management is imperative. A rapidly emerging field of research suggests that the microbiome–gut–brain axis is of substantial relevance to mood and behaviour. Similarly, unhealthy diet
has recently emerged as a significant correlate of and risk factor for depression
. This review provides evidence for the gut microbiota
as a key factor mediating the link between diet
and depressive illness.
The development of new technologies is affording a better understanding of how diet
influences gut microbiota
composition and activity and how this may, in turn, influence depressive illness. New interventions are also suggesting the possible utility of pre and probiotic formulations and fermented food in influencing mental health.
Although in its early stages, the emerging field of research focused on the human microbiome suggests an important role for the gut microbiota
in influencing brain development, behaviour and mood in humans. The recognition that the gut microbiota
interacts bidirectionally with other environmental risk factors, such as diet
and stress, suggests promise in the development of interventions targeting the gut microbiota
for the prevention and treatment of common mental health disorders.