What was the study about?

With this headline, a meta-analysis from India was published in May 2022, which appeared in the journal of the Association for Occupational Psychiatry in India. In my view, this is a very honest description of psychiatry’s dilemma, which is that while the use of psychotropic drugs has resulted in a significant reduction in disease burden and mortality, the authors have recognized over the years that “the mental health benefits of these medications are overshadowed by many significant side effects, the need for uncomfortably long medication regimens, and inadequate compliance, which requires considerable effort to improve adherence. Furthermore, medications may be effective in one-third of the population, while leading to relapse in half of the population.”

In other words, the disadvantages of psychotropic drugs make it increasingly difficult for practitioners to convince patients of their benefits and their use. So you look for other options.

The authors note that interest in lifestyle-related factors is steadily increasing, with nutrition in particular attracting a lot of attention. A growing body of research suggests that nutrition plays an important role not only in promoting positive mental wellbeing, but also in the treatment of mental illness.

The authors comment in detail on the effect of amino acids, the formation of new nerve cells in the brain, omega-3 fatty acids, the importance of the gut-brain axis and the differences between a Western and a Mediterranean diet, and there are also statements on vitamins and minerals.

As with almost every study, the authors refer to future studies to be carried out to provide further evidence. According to the summary: “The available data show that the Mediterranean diet, unprocessed foods, omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients rich in essential amino acids and vitamins have therapeutic potential for many mental illnesses. It has been used both as a supplement and as an adjuvant with favorable results. However, whether they are a good substitute or supplement for psychotropic drugs will be determined over time by further research and empirical evidence. The mere fact that it is useful when used judiciously is cause for optimism amidst the concerns and complications of psychopharmacy mentioned above.”

Conclusion: My mood and my drive are influenced by my diet and my lifestyle! I wonder why I have to wait for more studies to confirm how helpful these strategies are. These documents are already enough for me to use them for my stability.

Source: J, Chaudhury S, Chatterjee K, Kumar S. Do food and nutrition have therapeutic value for disorders of mood and conation? Ind Psychiatry J. 2022 Jan-Jun;31(1):1-5. doi: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_68_22. Epub 2022 May 20. PMID: 35800866 ; PMCID: PMC9255610.