UCC scientists reveal how food affects our mood

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

A new book, ‘The Psychobiotic Revolution’, is being heralded across the world as a game changer in the field of biomedicine

More oily fish and fibre-rich vegetables could help improve your mood and avoid conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to the book, which is setting the world of biomedicine alight.

For the last 14 years Professor John Cryan, Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork (UCC) and Ted Dinan, Professor of Psychiatry at the University, have worked to establish the gut-brain connection at the SFI Research Centre, APC Microbiome Ireland.

They have painstakingly researched how the food we eat impacts our psychological well-being investigating how the bacteria living in our gut, the microbiota, can influence our brains.

And they have used clinical trials to establish that our diet plays a major role in our state of mind and mental health.

Together, and with the help of acclaimed US science writer Scott C Anderson, they have produced a book which is being heralded as ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘a game changer’ across the globe – both within the scientific community and beyond.

‘The Psychobiotic Revolution’ was released in the USA and online through Amazon.com before Christmas and has already sold out. As a result, publishers The National Geographic have reprinted the bestseller.

“We have discovered that the gut microbiota influences our emotions. We have shown that people who are clinically depressed have less diversity in the bacteria in their gut than people who are not depressed. The question now is how can we improve the diversity of our bacteria,” explains Professor Dinan.

“It proves the theory that a healthy gut is connected to a healthy mind,” says Professor Cryan. He added: “We’re talking about a paradigm shift in relation to how we conceptualise how our brains work. In medicine, traditionally, we tended to compartmentalise systems in the body so if you’re interested in what happens in neuroscience or psychiatry you’re interested in what happens from the neck up.  However, what we are talking about in this book is so very different as we show how bacteria in the gut can influence brain function.”

The success of ‘The Psychobiotic Revolution’ globally is also being celebrated as a success story for Irish science, for UCC’s APC Microbiome Ireland research centre and for Science Foundation Ireland which funded much of this vital research.

And it could have a major impact on how patients with depression, in Ireland and beyond, are treated.

Professor Dinan explains: “For so long it’s generally been perceived that anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy are the mainstay of treating depression but our work clearly shows that your microbiota is very important and that for a more holistic management of depressive illness we should be focusing on diet and exercise as well.”

Explaining how to increase the diversity of your diet this book is accessible to those unfamiliar with biomedicine.

Indeed, The Lancet wrote: “Although decidedly aimed at the lay reader, the tone throughout is very humorous; I found myself swiftly turning pages, excitedly anticipating the next witty joke. Overall, this is a great book that encourages you to ‘take charge of your gut to optimise your mind and your mood’. This is a book that you would reluctantly lend to friends, in the fear that they might not return it”

And The Guardian said: “The hope is that it may one day be possible to diagnose some brain diseases and mental health problems by analysing gut bacteria, and to treat them – or at least augment the effects of drug treatments – with specific bacteria. Cryan and his colleague Ted Dinan call these mood-altering germs ‘psychobiotics’.”

The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection – by Scott C. Anderson (Author), John F. Cryan (Author), Ted Dinan (Author) is available from all good bookstores for approx. €22

Latest News Articles:

Sam Maguire School Tour launched
Fundraising drive to get Kinsale students to World Robotics Championships to Kentucky
Answer the Call to save lives on March 23
Clonakilty students return from trip of a lifetime to rural Malawi
Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads
Clonakilty Access Group AGM hears of many frustrations and challenges for people with disabilities in the town
Schull student scoops top invention award at BT Young Scientist
Schull Garda Station wins ‘Leading Light in Road Safety’ award from Road Safety Authority
Go quackers at the 2018 West Cork Bird Race

Join us on Facebook


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
... See MoreSee Less

8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
... See MoreSee Less

20th February, 2018  ·  

Did you know..... ... See MoreSee Less

Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.

... See MoreSee Less

16th February, 2018  ·  

Jump to: