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09/07/2018 – News / Science & Technology / Health / Nutrition / Fibre / China

Chinese scientists find eating more fibre may ease depression

It’s well known that most of us don’t eat enough dietary fibre – and that a low fibre intake is associated with constipation and gut diseases such as bowel cancer. Now, however, scientists in China claim that a low-fibre diet could also be linked to depression.


Scientists from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics at The School of Public Health at Qingdao University in Shandong Province, China, set about exploring if there is an association of dietary fibre intake with depressive symptoms.  The study involved the participation of 16,807 adults in the US, aged 20 years or older. 


They found that dietary intakes of cereal-, vegetable-, and fruit-fibre were inversely associated with depressive symptoms. “When total fibre intake was approximately 21 grams per day, the risk of depressive systems reached a relatively low level,” the authors noted in their paper – set to be published in October 2018 in journal ‘Nature’. They added that the findings have “important public health implications”, given that the average American currently consumes just 15g of dietary fibre per day – “thus, increasing the intake of foods rich in dietary fibre may be advocated for the prevention of depressive symptoms.”


The findings build on the findings of earlier studies, including one published in 2016 in the same journal, which suggested that higher fibre intake amongst Japanese workers may result in lower levels of depression.


The authors of the most recent study out of Qingdao University are not entirely sure how fibre influences depressive symptoms, yet speculate it may have an impact on intestinal microbiota, which, in turn, influences brain function – an interaction, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’. 


The authors cautioned that further larger prospective studies are needed to confirm the find.


To access the full text from the study, visit:

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