International Collaboration Says Nutritional Medicine Should Be “Mainstream” in Psychiatry

Rob Wipond
14
141

A large team of academics including psychiatrists, nutritionists and other members of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research has called for the study and application of nutritional medicine to become a mainstream part of the practice of psychiatry. “Although the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a crucial factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology,” wrote the authors in a commentary in The Lancet Psychiatry.

“Many epidemiological studies, including prospective studies, have shown associations between healthy dietary patterns and a reduced prevalence of, and risk for, depression and suicide,” the team wrote. “Maternal and early-life nutrition is also emerging as a determinant of later mental health outcomes in children, and severe macronutrient deficiencies during crucial developmental periods have long been implicated in the pathogenesis of both depressive and psychotic disorders. A recent systematic review has now confirmed a relation between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.”

The article also examined some of the evidence explaining how different nutrients act on the body and brain. In the concluding section, the authors argued that, “As a result of the immense burden of mental disorders, modifiable targets to reduce the incidence of mental disorders are now urgently needed. Diet and nutrition offer key modifiable targets for the prevention of mental disorders, having a fundamental role in the promotion of mental health. Now is time for the recognition of the importance of nutrition and nutrient supplementation in psychiatry.”

Sarris, Jerome, Alan C Logan, Tasnime N Akbaraly, G Paul Amminger, Vicent Balanzá-Martínez, Marlene P Freeman, Joseph Hibbeln, et al. “Nutritional Medicine as Mainstream in Psychiatry.” The Lancet Psychiatry. Accessed January 31, 2015. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00051-0. (Abstract) (Full text by free registration)

International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) website

Previous article“The 6 Blessings of Mental Illness”
Next articlePsychiatric Regret
Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Nutrition is important and how many patients could be treated with vitamins instead of dangerous drugs ?.
    Abram HofferM.D. Phd. had a lot of success with Niacin Vitamin B3.
    If psychiatrist want to be regarded as medical doctors they should learn about nutrition.
    The NICE doctors need to test vitamins and not regard them as quack treatment.
    Pellagra was cured with niacin and Hartnup disease was also another genetic condition linked to vitamin B3.

    • It is more than nutrition (diet); it is nutrients (therapeutic levels of vitamins and minerals). Dr. Hoffer was an early pioneer of orthomolecular therapy, as was his colleague and collaborator, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer. Today, their work is carried on by their colleague, Dr. William Walsh (a PhD), whose book “Nutrient Power” I cannot recommend or praise enough.

  2. The NYT recently reported that The Institute of Medicine says it takes 17 years from research and evidence to clinical use. At that glacial speed it is time to hand over the practice of medicine to the people and do a power grab from the mainstream quacks. Google’s Project X is trying to doing some of that with their CALICO project on longevity. The philosopher kings of today (tech titans) have the money and the power to make a difference.

    Nutrition and mental health related? This is news? As another commenter said, Hoffer knew this long ago and he was far from the only one. Orthomolecular psychiatry is so not new. It has been sitting in a sludge pile labeled snake oil while Rome burns.

    I have watched my close friend almost die from the “best care available” here in the San Francisco Bay Area. He had such Stockholm Syndrome with the medical community it was pathetic to watch. The drugs he was on made everything worse, and then when you though it couldn’t get worse, it did.

  3. There is no way this is going to go anywhere. While we realistically look to 15-20 years ahead in acknowledging the brain damage evidence and long-term outcomes, the role of nutrition in mental health is at least another 50 years away.

    Have you seen what mental patients, or indeed, ALL hospital patients are fed in this country? I was recently in a hospital for an ulcerative colitis flareup, it was a good hospital too and I made sure it didn’t even have a psych unit. When they removed my clear-liquid only diet and I was allowed to eat again, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, nitrites, sulfites, etc. Everything that is bad in nutrition was there and ample, and in absolutely everything.

    Now consider the fact that mental patients have far less money either to themselves or being spent on them. If a person with gastroinstestinal disease is getting bacon for breakfast and artificial juice where the first three ingredients are (literally were): Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar. Followed by artificial colors and flavors, then what chance do people having 1/5th the amount of money spent on them have?

    I just cant envision it. Not in my life time. I cant envision money being spent to afford mental patients to eat organic food with no additives or preservatives. I cant envision them having access to nutritional supplements or “nutracueuticals”. I can not imagine it anymore realistically than I can imagine them being bought their own homes in the suburbs. Never going to happen. A total waste of time.

  4. I strongly agree proper nutrition and exercise play important roles in mental well-being. I believe the quality of the air we draw into our lungs with each breath, or the lack of it, likely contributes significantly to brain function, too. Annualy, billions of tons of unhealthy and damaging particulate matter generated from a variety of sources all around the world mixes with the only available air we have. Multiply the tonnage by decades. Even as proper emphasis is attributed to nutrition, the air we breathe remains filthy and worsens every minute.

    A few examples of the kinds of poisons tossed into our thin, delicate envelope of atmosphere mostly from from coal plants. (Nothing against coal)

    In 2011, utility coal plants in the United States emitted a total of 1.7 billion tons of CO21.

    Sulfur dioxide (SO2):. A typical uncontrolled coal plant emits 14,100 tons of SO2 per year.

    Nitrogen oxides (NOx): A typical uncontrolled coal plant emits 10,300 tons of NOx per year.

    Mercury: Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat. A typical uncontrolled coal plants emits approximately 170 pounds of mercury each year.

    114 pounds of lead,

    4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium.

    720 tons of carbon monoxide, which causes headaches and places additional stress on people with heart disease.

    220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone. 225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.

    The U.S. Argonne National Laboratory estimates that about 20 million barrels of diesel fuel are consumed each year by idling long-haul trucks. Estimated truck emissions total about 10 million tons of CO2, 50,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 2,000 tons of particulates.

    • Smoke from wood stoves is the worst. I’ve been raging in a failed war on that for about two years now in my area. Two winter power outages in three years lead almost everybody in my area to buy a wood stove, presumably for emergencies, but then they realized it was cheaper so started using them all the time. The particulate matter is deadly beyond long-term health problems and the thick and spicy “smell” of it is an assault and battery in and of itself. Even with my windows taped up, it gets in and tinged the whole house with its rancid poison. Yet people who burn are among’st the stupidest and unreasonable people on Earth. Even after wasting my fathers money to print out 100 fliers informing people of the CONTENTS of that “smell”, the benzine and deadly particle matter — that increases risk of heart attacl and stroke up to 40-fold, and kills AT LEAST 30,000 people a year in the U.S. — they still had the nerve to call the city and COMPLAIN about the fliers, call us a bunch of wackos and demand the city protect their deadly wood stoves.

      At the very least, this sort of “pollution” is TRESPASSING and ASSAULT. I still can not for the life of me understand how by their own logic even that it be O.K. to invade someone elses property like that. We have laws against ALL OTHER forms of such intrusion. Even completely harmless ones. If I blare my music loud enough on my property that they can hear it on theirs, they can call the police and I’ll get in trouble. They FORCE ME to breath THEIR SMOKE, the consequences of THEIR luxury, in my own yard AND in my OWN HOME, and all the sudden I’m just a histrionic crybaby who needs to grow up and get a life?

      • To me, it is somewhat surprising that protecting air quality, and cleaning and purifying the dangerous, toxic, filthy dirty air we inhale and send into our bodies all day, doesn’t seem to attract as much attention as a key factor in overall healthy living as food products do. Billions of tons of industrial byproducts spew into our precious layer of air every year, year after year, decade after decade. Have you ever seen billions and billions of tons of noxious fumes?

        The EPA requires woodstove manufactures to meet certain output standards primarily through the use of catalytic combustors. They function using the same principle as car catalytic converters, I think. They ignite and more thoroughly burn the emissions from a wood fire.

        Sorry, but I love the smell of a nice wood fire.

LEAVE A REPLY