Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

MICROBIOME

The gut microbiome and mental health

The emerging concept of bidirectional signalling between the gut microbiota and the brain is an active field of research. Studies indicated that the gut microbiota can modulate the gut–brain axis via multiple mechanisms, including alterations in microbial composition or production of microbial neuroactive metabolites. Thus far, links have mostly been reported in animal models, and human studies are limited. Raes and colleagues now report a large population cohort study in which they correlate microbial taxa with quality of life and the incidence of depression. Butyrate-producing Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus spp. were associated with higher quality of life indicators. Moreover, Coprococcus spp. and Dialister spp. were shown to be depleted in participants with depression. Finally, the potential of microbial synthesis of a dopamine metabolite positively correlated with mental quality of life, possibly linking the neuroactive metabolic capacity of the gut microbiome with mental health.

References

Original article

  1. Valles-Colomer, M. et al. The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression. Nat. Microbiol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0337-x (2019)

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Further reading

  1. Johnson, K. V.-A. & Foster, K. R. Why does the microbiome affect behaviour? Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 16, 647–655 (2018)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrea Du Toit.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Du Toit, A. The gut microbiome and mental health. Nat Rev Microbiol 17, 196 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-019-0163-z

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing