Evidence-Based Reviews

Gut microbiota and its implications for psychiatry: A review of 3 studies

Dr. Pastis is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina. Dr. Saeed is Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina. Dr. Muthukanagaraj is Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina.

Disclosures
The authors report no financial relationships with any companies whose products are mentioned in this article, or with manufacturers of competing products.


 

References

Mörkl et al7 also reviewed dietary supplements. Some studies have linked use of omega-3 fatty acids with improvement in affective disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as cardiovascular conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids may exert beneficial effects by enhancing brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurogenesis as well as by decreasing inflammation.7

Zinc supplementation can also improve depression, as it has been linked to cytokine variation and hippocampal neuronal growth. Vitamin B9 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency also have been associated with depression. Mörkl et al7 emphasized that a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of nutrients is more beneficial than supplementation of any individual vitamin alone.

Researchers have long emphasized the importance of a healthy balanced diet when treating patients with medical conditions such as cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases. Based on the studies Mörkl et al7 reviewed, the same emphasis should be communicated to our patients who suffer from psychiatric conditions.

The gut and anxiety

The gut microbiome has also been an area of research when studying generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).8

3. Jiang HY, Zhang X, Yu ZH, et al. Altered gut microbiota profile in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. J Psychiatr Res. 2018;104:130-136.

The aim of the study was to determine if there were changes in the composition of the gut microbiome in patients with GAD compared with healthy controls.8

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