Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 in the United States. Although the understanding of our body’s microbiome and how it affects our mental health is still unclear, the effect of the microbiome on suicidal ideation (SI) has not yet been explored. To determine if there is an association between the microbiome and SI, Ahrens and colleagues took saliva from 489 participants (318 female) to examine the relationship between their salivary microbiome, diet, and genetic markers that may contribute to SI. In this cohort, 59 participants reported SI, 60 met the criteria for moderate to severe depression, 155 met the criteria for mild depression, and the other 213 either had no depression or minimal. One significant driving factor of SI in this study was an increased number of sleep disturbances. More specifically, females who endorsed SI were significantly more likely than males to report sleep disturbances in the past 2 weeks. Interestingly, the number of nuts consumed regularly affected the likelihood a person would endorse SI where those who consumed nuts less than 2-3x per week were more likely to struggle with SI. As for biological markers associated with SI, these researchers found a significant association between a number of genetic alleles, which increased the likelihood of SI, none more than the minor G allele at rs10437629 which was associated with a 2.6x increased incidence of SI. Lastly, there were a number of salivary microbiome differences, irrespective of sleep issues, that significantly contributed to the likelihood of endorsing SI. Overall, this study provides quality evidence that sleep disturbances, diet, genetics, and our body’s microbiome can significantly contribute to a person’s mental health and their likelihood of experiencing suicidal ideation.
Ahrens, AP et al. Sci Rep 2022; 12(1), 14306. Abstract.
Suicide Prevention Education and Resources
Episode 110 - The PsychopharmaStahlogy Show: Beyond the Storm: An Update on Suicide Prevention and The Suicide Prevention Handbook with Dr. Christine Moutier
Episode Released: June 16th, 2021
This Month in Psychopharmacology
Suicide Prevention Awareness September 10, 2022
Before It’s Too Late: Strategies for Suicide Prevention
CME/CE Credit: 1.0 | Expires: June 26, 2024
Prevention-Oriented Suicide Risk Assessment
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NEI Psychopharm Channel
Ask NEI About Suicide Prevention
Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), answered questions about the new '988' Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, as well as suicide prevention strategies.
Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology Handbooks
Suicide Prevention: Stahl's Handbooks
Published June, 2021
Remember Bekah: Interview with a Suicide Fighter
CME/CE Credit: 0.75 | Expires: April 24, 2025
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