The Effect of Nutrition on Mental Health: A Focus on Inflammatory Mechanisms

The paper seeks to explain how inflammatory mechanisms, nutrition, and psychopathology are connected. It suggests that nutrition plays a crucial role in psychopathology through inflammatory processes. It is a study conducted by Edirappuli, Venkatesh, and Zaman (2020). They reviewed the literature and analyzed three aspects of nutrition that contribute to pro- or anti-inflammatory, which causes mental disorders. In this study, the researchers based their research on three aspects of nutrition; variation in dietary patterns, obesity, and gut micro biota. The three aspects were studied on how they contribute to mental disorders via inflammatory mechanisms. 

Article Summary

Inflammatory processes and psychopathology have been proved to be connected. This was shown by an experiment conducted by Borsini et al. (2017), where healthy volunteers underwent inflammation induction. What followed is that the volunteers showed the development of psychiatric disturbances and cognitive impairments. This is proof that inflammation mechanisms are associated with psychiatric disorders. However, it is not yet known whether the inflammatory processes are causes or consequences of psychopathology.

To prove that the three aspects of nutrition, dietary patterns, obesity, and gut microbiota induce inflammation that causes psychopathology, evidence was collected. To start with dietary patterns, Mediterranean diets have shown low influence on mental disorders than western diets. The western diets have high SFAs and refined sugars while Mediterranean’s are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Lai et al. (2014) confirm that foods with SFAs and sugars are pro-inflammatory and may lead to psychiatric conditions. Thus, diets with high levels of SFAs and sugars lead to psychiatric symptoms, which causes psychopathology.


Secondly, there is a bidirectional connection between obesity and psychiatric. A meta-analysis indicates that obesity may lead to mental disorders, and mental disorders may also lead to obesity (Luppino et al. 2010). Furthermore, longitudinal research suggests that obese people are at a 74% risk of developing dementia, a psychopathology form (Whitmer et al. 2005). Lastly, gut micro biota relates to the bacteria around the gut area, and the composition of the bacteria is different across individuals influenced by the diets taken. The gut micro biome constituents may affect an individual’s behavior and may lead to neuropsychiatric symptoms. The evidence can be incorporated into the nursing practice by establishing neuropsychiatric disorders therapies, recommending the types of diets patients can incorporate, and developing mental disorders vaccines.

Article Critique

The article has well-articulated how nutrition is related to neuropsychiatric disorders and given evidence-based examples. It has also gone further and explained how diets trigger inflammatory mechanisms and how this leads to psychiatric symptoms. However, the main weakness is that it has not given any recommendations. Also, it has not done enough research on whether inflammatory mechanisms are causes of psychiatric disorders or effects of the disorders. I would recommend this article to a colleague because it has well-researched shreds of evidence that could lead to further studies.


The article suggests that nutrition plays a key role in psychiatric disorders. Through the diets taken, inflammatory mechanisms are responsible for causing neuropsychiatric symptoms. The most prevalent nutrition factors that affect inflammatory processes are dietary patterns, obesity, and gut micro biota. Diets with lots of SFAs and sugars are pro-inflammatory and lead to the development of psychiatric symptoms. Obesity and psychiatric are bidirectional, in which obesity can cause psychiatric and psychiatric can lead to obesity. Lastly, the gut micro biome may contain pro-inflammatory bacteria that induce psychiatry symptoms. It is thus, crucial to focus on what we eat because nutrition has proved to be a major cause of neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and dementia.

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