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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Reuters reports on nutrition for mental health

Going on seven decades or so, brave medical pioneers have stated that nutrition and supplements are a key factor in preventing and recovering from mental health problems. Now finally in mainstream news, these stories might make people question modern drugs that so quickly lead to dangerous outcomes.
This writer doesn't need to wonder why US drug makers find that more natural treatments "are not effective".
Maybe this "lack of effectiveness" is in the ability of high quality and properly prepared natural products to really do the job.
Fish oils, vitamins, herbs helpful for depression

Diet and nutrition may play a key role in helping people fight depression, Australian researchers report.

A number of nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, St. John's Wort and several B vitamins, have the potential to influence mood by increasing the absorption of chemical messengers in the brain, Dr. Dianne Volker of the University of Sydney in Chippendale and Jade Ng of Goodman Fielder Commercian in North Ryde, New South Wales note in the journal Nutrition and Dietetics.

There is a wealth of epidemiological, experimental and circumstantial evidence to suggest that fish and the oils they contain, in particular omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, are protective against depression, Volker and Ng write. They point out that the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 may also be important, given that the latter can prevent the body from absorbing the former.

Another candidate for dietary prevention of depression is the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods, including turkey, and is responsible for the drowsiness people feel after eating a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin, suggesting the amino acid may have modest effects on mood.

But studies investigating whether the B vitamin folate, vitamins B6 and B12, and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) play a role in depression have had conflicting results, the researchers write.

And while European studies have found that St. John's Wort has antidepressant effects, US clinical trials have shown the opposite, which some think may be due to the herb's interaction with other medications.

Volker and Ng conclude: "The role of balanced nutrition in mental health should be recognized," thus allowing for the use of nutrition and relevant nutrients in the maintenance of good mental health.

SOURCE: Nutrition and Dietetics 2006.

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