Mental Health Symptom Reduction Using Digital Therapeutics Care Informed by Genomic SNPs and Gut Microbiome Signatures

Inti Pedroso, Shreyas Vivek Kumbhare, Bharat Joshi, Santosh K. Saravanan, Dattatray Suresh Mongad, Simitha Singh-Rambiritch, Tejaswini Uday, Karthik Marimuthu Muthukumar, Carmel Irudayanathan, Chandana Reddy-Sinha, Parambir S. Dulai, Ranjan Sinha, Daniel Eduardo Almonacid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neuropsychiatric diseases and obesity are major components of morbidity and health care costs, with genetic, lifestyle, and gut microbiome factors linked to their etiology. Dietary and weight-loss interventions can help improve mental health, but there is conflicting evidence regarding their efficacy; and moreover, there is substantial interindividual heterogeneity that needs to be understood. We aimed to identify genetic and gut microbiome factors that explain interindividual differences in mental health improvement after a dietary and lifestyle intervention for weight loss. We recruited 369 individuals participating in Digbi Health’s personalized digital therapeutics care program and evaluated the association of 23 genetic scores, the abundance of 178 gut microbial genera, and 42 bacterial pathways with mental health. We studied the presence/absence of anxiety or depression, or sleep problems at baseline and improvement on anxiety, depression, and insomnia after losing at least 2% body weight. Participants lost on average 5.4% body weight and >95% reported improving mental health symptom intensity. There were statistically significant correlations between: (a) genetic scores with anxiety or depression at baseline, gut microbial functions with sleep problems at baseline, and (b) genetic scores and gut microbial taxa and functions with anxiety, depression, and insomnia improvement. Our results are concordant with previous findings, including the association between anxiety or depression at baseline with genetic scores for alcohol use disorder and major depressive disorder. As well, our results uncovered new associations in line with previous epidemiological literature. As evident from previous literature, we also observed associations of gut microbial signatures with mental health including short-chain fatty acids and bacterial neurotoxic metabolites specifically with depression. Our results also show that microbiome and genetic factors explain self-reported mental health status and improvement better than demographic variables independently. The genetic and microbiome factors identified in this study provide the basis for designing and personalizing dietary interventions to improve mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1237
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • gut-brain-axis
  • insomnia
  • multi-omic models
  • non-pharmacological treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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