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Proper diet and nutrition provide the building blocks for optimal health. This is also true for mental health. In a recent paper published in The Lancet Psychiatry Today, researchers stated that, as with other medical conditions, the field of psychiatry and public health should recognize and embrace diet and nutrition as important contributors to mental health.

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology,” Jerome Sarris, PhD, lead author. “In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health.”

The researchers recommend nutrient-based prescription of those nutrients that have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins, choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids when they cannot be consumed in sufficient amounts from the diet.

Diet during pregnancy and through childhood is a crucial part of incorporating diet and nutrition into mental health care, note the authors. Early-life nutrition and deficiencies are emerging as a significant contributor to poor mental health status in children and adolescents.

“It’s time for clinicians to consider diet and additional nutrients as part of the treating package to manage the enormous burden of mental ill health,” noted Sarris.

I agree. Hopefully more doctors in the mental health field get the message.