The SMILES trial – evidence at last!
Associate Professor Felice Jacka, Deakin University researcher and founder of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry, and her team have recently conducted a small clinical trial of 67 people suffering symptoms of depression and found a link between diet and their mental health.
In the study, half of the participants were encouraged to follow a Modified Mediterranean Diet, which was constructed using existing dietary guidelines from Greece and Australia, traditional Mediterranean diet principles. Everyone was coached by a dietician. A comparison group of people with the same symptoms, were offered social support only.
The results of the SMILES study, published in the international journal BMC Medicine, showed that participants in the dietary intervention group had a much greater reduction in their depressive symptoms over the three-month period, compared to those in the social support group.
At the end of the trial, a third of those in the dietary support group met criteria for remission of major depression, compared to 8 percent of those in the social support group.