Saturday, September 6, 2014

Why We Use Nutritional Supplementation for "Mental" Illness

Readers know that I am an avid proponent for the rational, medical use of nutritional supplements, when appropriate, for cases of "mental" illness which are medical, or have, a medical component. And after all, the psychiatric community increasingly is saying that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other major "mental" illnesses, are actually medical conditions, although I have yet to see many psychiatric facilities treat people there the same way as at regular medical clinics and hospitals.

As readers of my book know, my family is among the increasing number of families that have "cured" illnesses affecting brain function that had been diagnosed as bipolar disorder and major depression, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia. Dietary changes along with specific nutritional supplements, and in some cases hormonal medications (such as for thyroid conditions), have been the core of successful treatment.

I used to wonder more about the biological underpinnings of this need, however more recent research into genetic variations leading to such diagnoses have been very revealing. By now, most people are aware of the 2014 blockbuster announcement by researchers (reported in the July 24, 2014, edition of Nature [1]) who have found 108 genetic regions with tiny variations (single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs) that were significantly associated with schizophrenia risk (and of course, as other research showed - schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are genetically related). [2]

It may come as no surprise that the strongest association detected were with the genes related to immune system function. We have talked before both in my book and on this website about how our immune system relates to brain function and how our gut is intimately connected to our immune health[3]. In addition, doctors have previously mentioned the role of possible methylation problems in individuals. Indeed, the bottom line here is exactly what I had observed in my own children -- there was no one single "reason" for their illnesses affecting brain function, but rather, "a perfect storm."

Indeed, a quote from the scientists themselves:[2]
The researchers found overlap between the protein-related functions of some linked common variants and rare variants associated with schizophrenia in other studies. These included genes involved in learning and memory, the machinery controlling calcium ion channels, and communication between neurons via the chemical messenger glutamate.

“These results underscore that genetic programming affects the brain in tiny, incremental ways that can increase the risk for developing schizophrenia,” says Dr. Thomas Lehner, who heads NIMH’s genomics research branch. “They also validate the strategy of examining both common and rare variation to understand this complex disorder.”
Is it any wonder then, that dietary changes (such as eliminating gluten and dairy, and focusing on organic whole foods), attention to gut health (probiotics), vitamins/mineral/herbal supplementation (including the methylated forms of some B vitamins, and Truehope's EMPowerPlus or Hardy's Daily Essential Nutrients), overall lifestyle changes, and attending to any hormonal deficiencies we may have (such as thyroid[4]), concentrating on sleep[5][6][7] (See: Sleep- Timing of Melatonin, Light, Dark, & Use of Other Aids for supplements and other treatment ideas), stress [8][9][10], allergies[11], and an emotionally and physically healthy environment, can promote recovery in individuals previously declared to have these supposedly lifelong psychiatric illnesses.

NEW References:
[1] Nature Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci 24 July 2014
[2] NIH Research Matters Over 100 Genetic Sites Tied to Schizophrenia 18 August 2014

Related Books:

Property of:       Jeanie Wolfson
Last Updated:   06 September 2014


Herb said...

Your readers might be well advised to review your previous posts regarding epigenetics to understand how genes themselves can be affected by ambiental factors.

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Jennifer said...

The American Psychiatric Association highlighted micronutrients as an effective treatment for mental illness this month. My own doctor recommended Hardy Nutritonal's Daily Essential Nutrients (an affordable micronutrient supplement) YEARS ago, and I have been successful and med-free ever since. It's great to see the medical professional industry rally behind a natural supplement for mental wellbeing.

You can read more about the practical use of micronutrients in this news article:

or on this popular natural health blog: As someone who both uses Daily Essential Nutrients and works in the medical industry, I personally believe we should strive to get the word out about viable, affordable, natural treatments like this.

Unknown said...

After reading this I actually tried hardy's daily self defense for men. I liked it so much I switched to their daily essential nutrients and the vitamins really speak for themselves.

Unknown said...

Also Truehope is suing Hardy's after Hardy's improved their product:

Anonymous said...

Every aspect of body health will inter-influence i think, thus I'd like to believe that the nutritional supplements will be helpful to a certain degree to the mental illness. thyroid

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

Hardy Nutritionals micronutrients for mental health have really helped me. They have a great video everyone should watch here: