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

  • Mayu UemuraEmail author
  • Fumikazu Hayashi
  • Ken Ishioka
  • Kunio Ihara
  • Kazushi Yasuda
  • Kanako Okazaki
  • Junichi Omata
  • Tatsuo Suzutani
  • Yoshihisa Hirakawa
  • Chifa Chiang
  • Atsuko Aoyama
  • Tetsuya Ohira
Original Contribution



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.


Microbiota Diet Education Obesity Psychology 



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.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2018_1873_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 KB)
394_2018_1873_MOESM2_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 12 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mayu Uemura
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fumikazu Hayashi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ken Ishioka
    • 4
  • Kunio Ihara
    • 5
  • Kazushi Yasuda
    • 6
  • Kanako Okazaki
    • 3
  • Junichi Omata
    • 7
  • Tatsuo Suzutani
    • 4
  • Yoshihisa Hirakawa
    • 1
  • Chifa Chiang
    • 1
  • Atsuko Aoyama
    • 1
  • Tetsuya Ohira
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Health SystemsNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, School of MedicineFukushima Medical UniversityFukushimaJapan
  3. 3.Radiation Medical Science Centre for the Fukushima Health Management SurveyFukushima Medical UniversityFukushimaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology, School of MedicineFukushima Medical UniversityFukushimaJapan
  5. 5.Nagoya University Centre for Gene ResearchNagoyaJapan
  6. 6.Tosei General HospitalSetoJapan
  7. 7.Preparing Section for New Faculty of Medical Science/AnatomyFukushima Medical UniversityFukushimaJapan

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