Obesity and mental health improvement following nutritional education focusing on gut microbiota composition in Japanese women: a randomised controlled trial



Gut microbiota composition was supposedly related to obesity and psychological factors. We examined the effects of a nutritional education intervention focusing on gut microbiota composition on obesity and psychological factors among obese women.


Forty-four obese Japanese women aged 40 or older were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (n = 22) or control group (n = 22). The intervention consisted of a 20-min dietary lecture and a 10-min counselling session by registered dieticians, every 2 weeks for eight consecutive weeks. Body weight, height, waist circumference, food frequency, and gut microbiota composition were measured, and self-rated health and psychological factors were scored before and after the intervention.


All participants completed the 8 week program. After the intervention, dietary fibre intake (p < 0.01), frequency of vegetable consumption (p = 0.020), and frequency of milk and milk product consumption (p < 0.01) increased significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group. Body weight and body mass index (BMI; p < 0.001), waist circumference (p < 0.01), and the depression scale score (p < 0.01) decreased significantly, while significant improvements were found in self-rated health (p = 0.045) and microbiome diversity (p < 0.01).


Nutritional education focusing on gut microbiota composition may improve obesity and psychological factors in obese women.

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The authors wish to express their sincere appreciation to the participants. This study was supported by grants from THE SKYLARK FOOD SCIENCE INSTITUTE and the Fostering Research Fund at Fukushima Medical University.

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Correspondence to Mayu Uemura.

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Uemura, M., Hayashi, F., Ishioka, K. et al. Obesity and mental health improvement following nutritional education focusing on gut microbiota composition in Japanese women: a randomised controlled trial. Eur J Nutr 58, 3291–3302 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1873-0

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  • Microbiota
  • Diet
  • Education
  • Obesity
  • Psychology