Diet and Nutrition – Key Determinants of Mental Health

A new international collaboration led by the University of Melbourne and Deakin University has emerging evidence that shows extremely important relationships between diet quality/potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health. Dr. Jerome Sarris is from the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). He said psychiatry is at a critical stage with the current medically-focused model achieving only small benefits in addressing the global burden of poor mental health.

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.”Dr. Sarris

Published in The Lancet Psychiatry, “psychiatry and public health should now recognize and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health”.

In addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports that nutrient-based prescriptions have the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders. The studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D and amino acids.
“While we advocate for these to be consumed in the diet where possible, additional select prescription of these as nutraceuticals (nutrient supplements) may also be justified.”Dr. Sarris

Many studies have shown associations between healthy dietary patterns and a risk for depression and suicide across cultures and age groups. Nutrition in the womb and in early-life is also emerging as a factor in mental health outcomes in children. Severe deficiencies in some essential nutrients during the development periods have been attributed to both depressive and psychotic disorders.

I am grateful a lot more doctors are now providing a wholistic approach to mental dis-eases with nutrition-based prescriptions. Changing our diets, changes our minds and mental state of BEING. So much of this shows true in our everyday lives. On a small scale, we have moments of depression and find ourselves eating ‘comfort’ foods to help us ‘cope’. When actually, it exacerbates the problem. It doesn’t bring you out of that mental state. This is the same concept with more vital cases of mental health.

EACH ONE TEACH ONE. Let’s have a healthier approach to living. Our food choices are either helping us or hindering us in achieving our life goals and accomplishments. What was your choice today?!


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