What’s for dinner? The question is popping up in an unexpected place - the psychiatrist’s office.
More research is finding that a nutritious diet isn’t just good for the body; it’s great for the brain, too. The knowledge is giving rise to a concept called “nutritional (or food) psychiatry.”
“Traditionally, we haven’t been trained to ask about food and nutrition,” says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. “But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”
Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness each year. The CDC says that by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease. (source)
Severe Depression Linked with Inflammation in the Brain
By David McNamee
Clinical depression is associated with a 30% increase of inflammation in the brain, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to infection or disease. The body often uses inflammation to protect itself, such as when an ankle is sprained and becomes inflamed, and the same principle also applies to the brain. However, too much inflammation is unhelpful and can be damaging.
Increasingly, evidence is suggesting that inflammation may drive some depressive symptoms, such as low mood, loss of appetite and reduced ability to sleep.
What the new study set out to investigate was whether inflammation is a driver of clinical depression independent of other physical illness.
Researchers from the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, used positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the brains of 20 patients with depression and 20 healthy control participants.
In particular, the team closely measured the activation of microglia - immune cells that play a key role in the brain’s inflammatory response.
The PET scans showed significant inflammation in the brains of the people with depression, and the inflammation was most severe among the participants with the most severe depression. The brain of people who were experiencing clinical depression exhibited an inflammatory increase of 30%. (source)
Social Anxiety Disorder Linked to High Serotonin Levels Throwing Treatment with SSRI into Serious Question
By Dr. Mercola
Depression and other mental health problems are at epidemic levels judging by the number of antidepressants prescribed each year. According to CDC data, one in 20 Americans over the age of 12, report some form of depression, and 11 percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication. This despite overwhelming evidence showing that antidepressants do not work as advertised.
At best, antidepressants are comparable to placebos. At worst they can cause devastating side effects, including deterioration into more serious mental illness, and suicidal or homicidal tendencies.
Virtually all of the school and mass shooters, for example, have been on antidepressants. Antidepressants are also prescribed to pregnant women, which can have serious repercussions for the child.
Research shows boys with autism are three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in utero than non-autistic boys. Those whose mothers used SSRIs during the first trimester were found to be at greatest risk.
Recent research into the mechanisms driving anxiety and social phobias now turn conventional drug treatment with SSRIs on its ear.