Evidence-Based Reviews

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

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The following review highlighted the significance of diet on gut microbiome and mental health.7

2. Mörkl S, Wagner-Skacel J, Lahousen T, et al. The role of nutrition and the gut- brain axis in psychiatry: a review of the literature. Neuropsychobiology. 2018;17: 1-9.

Study design

  • These researchers provided a narrative review of the significance of a healthy diet and nutritional supplements on the gut microbiome and the treatment of patients with psychiatric illness.


  • This review suggested dietary coaching as a nonpharmacologic treatment for patients with psychiatric illness.


  • The utilization of nutritional advice, along with medication management, therapy, and physical activity, can provide a holistic approach to the biopsychosocial treatment of patients with psychiatric illness.

This review also emphasized the poor dietary trends of Westernized countries, which include calorie-dense, genetically altered, processed meals. As Mörkl et al7 noted, we are overfed but undernourished. Mörkl et al7 reviewed studies that involve dietary coaching as part of the treatment plan of patients with mental illness. In one of these studies, patients who received nutritional advice and coaching over 6 weeks had a 40% to 50% decrease in depressive symptoms. These effects persisted for 2 more years. Mörkl et al7 also reviewed an Italian study that found that providing nutritional advice in patients with affective disorders and psychosis helped improve symptom severity and sleep.7

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