BANT Response to New Blood Test Targets Depression Feature on BBC Breakfast with Dr Chatterjee

The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy welcomes the BBC Breakfast piece, featuring Dr Chatterjee, regarding a new blood test targeting depression. The study in question, published in the International Journal of Neuropsycopharmacology1, showed that patients with high levels of chronic inflammatory markers (macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and Interleukin-1beta (IL6 beta) specifically) were less likely to respond to antidepressant treatment.

As Dr Chatterjee mentioned, acute inflammation is an essential part of the body’s immune system in dealing with infections and injury, however, chronic long-term inflammation can result in a number of health conditions including obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.  Chronic inflammation can be the result of a number of factors including: long term stress; auto-immune conditions; allergies or the inability of the inflammatory process to switch itself off. External factors can include, as mentioned by Dr Chatterjee, nutrition and lifestyle.

The study lead researcher Professor Carmine Pariante is looking to test whether giving anti-inflammatory drugs alongside antidepressants might help. BANT, however, applauds Dr Chatterjee’s comments that lifestyle and nutrition management, including the move from a Western diet “high in sugars and low in helpful fats”, should be the first port of call for these patients.  BANT advises that individuality is key and any advice provided should be tailored to each person.

Miguel Toribio-Mateas, BANT Chairman commented: I’m excited to see the principles that are behind the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines being discussed by Dr Chatterjee on BBC Breakfast this morning.

Unlike the Eatwell Guide, the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines are based on anti-inflammatory principles. First and foremost, grains are more inflammatory than fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are different foods with different macro and micronutrient ratios that allow them to perform different physiological functions, hence why BANT feels that the Eatwell Guidelines have missed an opportunity to make this clear. The BANT Guidelines recommend at least 5 pieces of brightly coloured vegetables plus 2 pieces of fruit daily. Additionally, the BANT Guidelines come in 2 versions. One is for those in normal weight and energy balance and the other is for those needing additional cardio-metabolic and anti-inflammatory support.”

BANT experts have carefully developed a set of Wellbeing Guidelines, based on the latest science and research in the field of nutrition for optimal health. The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines were specifically designed to provide clear, concise, easy to understand information for the general public, avoiding out-dated information and research, and addressing some of the most common health concerns.  The most common reasons people seek nutritional advice is to address weight loss and/ or for general health and wellbeing. These issues are addressed by BANT with the following:


The clear, concise format of the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines enables people to see easily what food choices they should be making.  More detailed information is also given to guide people in how to make these choices and which other lifestyle factors they should be addressing.

Key advice provided by the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines includes the following:

  • Eat a Rainbow: a varied diet of 7 differently coloured fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Stay hydrated with water, herbal teas, green and black teas. Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks and too much caffeine.
  • Ensure protein is lean: fish, poultry, eggs and vegetable sources. Limit red and processed meat.
  • Include healthy fats: avocados, nuts, olive oil. Cook with healthy saturated fats: coconut oil and butter.
  • Choose root vegetables and whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates and grains: Eat sparingly.
  • For Weight Loss: include exercise, limit portion sizes, don’t eat between meals. Avoid: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
  • Include the right supplements: vitamin D, in particular, for most people and probiotics as advised by your Registered Nutritional Therapist
  • Sleep and Exercise are an important aspect in overall Health and Wellbeing and Weight Management.

– Ends –

Click here to download the PDF version of this response.


Daniel O’Shaughnessy

[email protected]

Tel: +44 7540  722307


The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) is the professional body for Registered Nutritional Therapists. Its primary function is to assist its members in attaining the highest standards of integrity, knowledge, competence and professional practice, in order to protect the client’s interests; nutritional therapy and the registered nutritional therapist.

Nutritional therapy is the application of nutrition science in the promotion of health, peak performance and individual care. It is a progressive approach to health optimisation.  Registered Nutritional Therapists are recognised by the Professional Standards Authority to be as competent as other traditional healthcare providers.  It has been recognised that they can make a difference by working together with healthcare providers as part of multidisciplinary teams under NHS commissioning.

  1. Pariante M. et al (2016) Absolute Measurements of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Interleukin-1-β mRNA Levels Accurately Predict Treatment Response in Depressed Patients, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Published ahead of print May 2016. DOI:
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