First Advisor

Claire Wheeler

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Applied Health and Fitness and University Honors


Health Studies


Gastrointestinal system -- Microbiology, Mental depression -- Alternative treatment, Diet therapy -- Mediterranean Region




In the last 10 years, research on the human microbiome has grown exponentially due to the increasing understanding of its effects on human health. The gut-brain axis has become one area of focus, linking gut health and mental disorders. This review of the literature will examine the connection between depression and gut health, primarily mediated by the gut microflora. Due to the complex nature of studying the gut-brain axis and the heterogeneity of depression, recent studies have faced some difficulty in finding significant results based on isolated nutrients, foods, supplements, or probiotics. This proposal seeks to build on prior research to produce an inclusive whole food-based nutrition intervention that potentially will have a more significant impact on depressive disorders. This research will be combining well studied probiotics with a beneficial dietary pattern in the hopes of creating a protocol that yields a more pronounced reduction on depressive symptoms, which could be used in a clinical trial or as an adjuvant treatment.


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