Metabolic phenotyping reveals a potential link between elevated faecal amino acids, diet and symptom severity in individuals with severe mental illness

Jack Jansma, Rogier van Essen, Bartholomeus C.M. Haarman, Anastasia Chrysovalantou Chatziioannou, Jenny Borkent, Magdalini Ioannou, Saskia van Hemert, Iris E.C. Sommer*, Sahar El Aidy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The brain-gut axis is increasingly recognized as an important contributing factor in the onset and progression of severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders and bipolar disorder. This study investigates associations between levels of faecal metabolites identified using 1H-NMR, clinical parameters, and dietary components of forty-two individuals diagnosed in a transdiagnostic approach to have severe mental illness. Faecal levels of the amino acids; alanine, leucine, and valine showed a significant positive correlation with psychiatric symptom severity as well as with dairy intake. Overall, this study proposes a diet-induced link between the brain-gut axis and the severity of psychiatric symptoms, which could be valuable in the design of novel dietary or therapeutic interventions to improve psychiatric symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-515
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2022


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Brain-gut axis
  • Diet
  • Faecal metabolites
  • Proton nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorder

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