Food and Behaviour Research

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The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health - Inflammation, the Microbiome, Oxidative Stress, and Mitochondrial Function

Kaplan BJ, Rucklidge JJ, Amy Romijn A, McLeod K, (2015) Clinical Psychological Science  doi: 10.1177/2167702614555413 

Web URL: Read the OPEN ACCESS review here


We live in a transformational moment for understanding the etiology of mental disorders.

The previous leap in understanding occurred 60 years ago, which led us to incorporate psychopharmacology into our curricula to address the chemical basis of neurotransmitter function, especially as explained through the then-popular catecholamine hypothesis.

The current revolution is broader, consisting of the rapidly accumulating knowledge of how inflammation, microbiome imbalance (gut dysbiosis), oxidative stress, and impaired mitochondrial output affect brain function.

Suitable interventions for fighting inflammation, restoring normal gut function, reducing oxidative stress, and improving mitochondrial metabolism incorporate lifestyle variables, including nutrients and probiotics.

This article invites readers to stay abreast of this emerging model of the biological basis of mental illness, given that it has particular relevance for those readers interested in alleviating the suffering of individuals with mental disorders. This overview describes the basis for a new field in mental health: nutritional psychiatry/psychology.