Abundant research also supports the relationship between trace elements and other specific nutrients and psychiatric disorders. As reported in a review in the American Journal of Public Health in October 2014, for instance, “the dietary intake of folate, zinc, and magnesium is inversely associated with depressive disorders, whereas dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are inversely related to anxiety disorders.”6
Inflammation and gut health are two additional factors that appear to have an important role in the relationship between diet and psychological functioning, and research in these areas is ongoing.7,8,9,10 According to the field of psychoneuroimmunology, “diet, gut health, and mental health are all interrelated and have huge effects on mood,” Dr Arden said.
In addition to diet-based interventions, there is sufficient data to support the use of supplements (also called “nutraceuticals”) as stand-alone or add-on treatments,11 according the the ISNPR statement. “While more research is required, there are some nutraceuticals that have substantiative evidence for use in select psychiatric disorders,” which can be prescribed by clinicians with the required qualifications, added Dr Sarris.
“Advice on pursuing a balanced whole-food diet can also always be given, and in cases involving more intensive advice or challenging prescription, appropriate referral is advised.”
Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist and freelance writer based in Atlanta.
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