"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Mediterranean weight-reduction plan linked to fewer PTSD symptoms: study

October 23, 2023 – A brand new study suggests that a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan may help people exposed to trauma limit the severity of their post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

The research builds on a growing body of evidence that mental health and emotions are influenced by microorganisms within the so-called gut-brain axis, a two-way communication pathway between the brain and the gut.

The results were published within the journal this month Mental health of nature. For the study, researchers compared dietary data, stool samples and reported PTSD symptoms in 191 women. The women, all of whom were registered nurses, entered their health information right into a research database in 2008 and 2013. This latest evaluation, conducted by researchers on the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, found that girls who didn't adhere to a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan had more severe PTSD symptoms.

The authors found that PTSD affects 4% of individuals worldwide and sometimes occurs after people experience or witness traumatic or horrific events reminiscent of accidents, physical or sexual assaults, war-related events, or natural disasters. Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the trauma, avoiding memories, numbing emotions, in addition to sleep problems, crankiness, hypervigilance, and an exaggerated startle response. The women on this latest study were screened for trauma with the assistance of the National Center for PTSDs Short trauma questionnaire.

When the researchers analyzed the stool samples, they found that folks's gut microbiomes shared characteristics with those of other individuals with similar body mass indices, or BMIs, and likewise with those of people that suffered from depression or were taking antidepressants. (Your BMI is a measure of body fat percentage based in your height and weight.)

Analyzing PTSD symptoms based on people's dietary habits found that those that followed a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan had fewer PTSD symptoms, and eating red and processed meat was related to more symptoms. Overall, eating plant-based foods was related to fewer symptoms.

Researchers checked out specific microorganisms in people's gut microbiomes and located that those that followed a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan had higher levels I select Eubacterium Bacteria related to vegetables, fruits and fish, that are vital components of the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan. In the meantime, Selection of eubacteria is less likely in individuals who eat red or processed meat.

“It is exciting that our results suggest that the Mediterranean diet may provide potential relief for individuals with PTSD symptoms,” said writer Yang-Yu Liu, PhD, a statistical physicist within the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in an article opinion. “We are excited to learn more about the connection between PTSD, diet and the gut microbiome. In a future study, we will attempt to validate the effectiveness of probiotics as a method of preventing PTSD.”