Food and Behaviour Research

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Nutritional interventions for the adjunctive treatment of schizophrenia: a brief review.

Arroll MA, Wilder L, Neil J. (2014) Nutr J.  13(1) doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-91. 

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Abstract:

Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that impacts significantly not only on the individual and family, but the disorder also has wider consequences for society in terms of significant costs to the economy.

This highly prevalent condition affects approximately 1% of the worldwide population, yet there are few therapeutic options. The predominant treatment strategy for schizophrenia is anti-psychotic medication (with or without additional talking therapy) even though this approach lacks efficacy in managing the negative symptoms of the condition, is not effective in one-third of the patient group and the side effects of the medication can be severe and debilitating.

In recent years, a number of pathophysiological processes have been identified in groups of people with schizophrenia including oxidative stress, one-carbon metabolism and immune-mediated responses. A number of studies have shown that these altered physiological mechanisms can be ameliorated by nutritional interventions in some individuals with schizophrenia.

This review briefly describes the aforementioned processes and outlines research that has investigated the utility of nutritional approaches as an adjunct to anti-psychotic medication including antioxidant and vitamin B supplementation, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory nutrients and exclusion diets.

Whilst none of these interventions provides a 'one-size-fits-all' therapeutic solution, we suggest that a personalised approach warrants research attention as there is growing agreement that schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder that develops from the interplay between environmental and genetic factors.