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Nutritional Psychiatry

Last Updated on August 3, 2021 by Chris Weatherall

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Nutritional Psychiatry Can Be Transformational

Alternative to Meds Center knows that nutritional psychiatry continues to transform the ways we think about improving mental health. Such a fundamental “sea change” in a subject as ancient as psychiatry must rely on evidence-based results to become even more widely accepted.1

Importantly, Alternative to Meds Center has accumulated years of evidence of its successes, providing largely nutrition-based treatment programs. We offer these independently reviewed and published successful results freely for public and professional scrutiny.

Please ask us for more information about our documented results and successes.

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Has Nutritional Psychiatry Made Medications Passe?

nutritional psychiatryTruly, medications fulfill important tasks in many treatments. Therapeutics that fight infections are a prime example in treating disease. What about “psychiatric” conditions? Do we have medicinal cures? Unfortunately, we do not have medicinal cures for mental syndromes and distress. However, more and more evidence shows that alternative treatments for psychiatric conditions have found their rightful place, based on the fact that they work, and they are without liabilities associated with drug-based treatment, electric shock, or other extreme treatments.

One example is the amazing success that adjusting the diet can have on chronic schizophrenia-like symptoms. Better results than antipsychotic medications? The evidence is clearly on the side of natural healing to help with symptoms of what is widely termed “schizophrenia.” And more good news, nutritionally based psychiatry can reduce or eliminate the long-term health consequences of staying on heavy neuroleptic drugs.4

In many cases, nutritional treatments have demonstrated surprising efficacy, at times equal to or better than results attained through medication alone. And unlike many medications, nutritional treatments do not bring about unwanted side effects such as those caused by drug therapies. Certainly, the human psyche, based on more than “meat and potatoes” remains a highly complex and many-faceted subject. Nonetheless, clinical observers offer much important insight as shown in the writings of health professionals concerning the connections between mood and food.2

The Transformative Power of Food

Some health professionals remain cautious or even skeptical of the power of nutrition. However, despite the complexities found in understanding and treating mental health afflictions, most health professionals would agree on the following: that repairing nutritional deficiencies, removal of toxic elements of diet and environment, and providing a clean, well-planned diet can produce positive changes in mental health.

The clearest advantage is that these changes can be attained without suffering the side effects caused by artificial disruptions of neurochemistry and physical function.

Fueling Mental Wellness

nutritional psychiatryClearly, we are more than our brains. However, the brain is a vital organ, which can become a burden if undernourished. On the other hand, much is to be gained in benefits if we can keep it fit and functioning well. As a society, we probably spend more time and effort thinking about the “health” of our automobiles than about our grey matter.

The human body contains its own “pharmacy” of naturally produced “medicines.” In the most simple terms, if you give your body/brain the raw materials it needs, a person will feel better, think more clearly, have more energy, sleep better, and these benefits can make the difference between cheerfulness and depression, fatigue, stress, tension, etc.6

But, one has to know exactly what are the needed fuel components. Testing will help discover the weak links, so these nutritional gaps can be corrected. Clean foods, without pesticides, colorants, or other chemicals are best. Supplements produced not synthetically but from whole foods, can increase the efficacy of nutritional healing. It may or may not be possible to eat a pound of raw walnuts daily, but it certainly could be approximated with tinctures, extracts, and the like. Research nutrition for your best food and supplement choices.5

Superfoods Pack a Much-Needed Nutritional Punch

Some stellar examples of superfoods that can be helpful for symptoms of mental distress:

  • superfoods nutritionBlueberries:  high in vit C, vit K, Manganese, antioxidants, and many other nutrients can reduce stress
  • Pomegranates:  copious amounts of antioxidants, protective agents against free radicals that can damage brain cells, cause inflammation, etc.
  • Nuts, in general, are amazing superfoods. Rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, nuts also help maintain and restore gut health.
  • Walnuts in particular are a great source of protection against telomere attrition. Telomeres are the pattern of DNA residing at the ends of chromosomes, which among other functions, regulates the cellular aging process. Good length telomeres mean longevity. Walnuts provide the raw materials for the ample production of telomeres.7

In the 21st century, we live in a “garden of Eden” with nearly unlimited food choices. Anyone can begin to learn which types of foods promote mental wellness and can provide the super fuel needed for natural mental health.6

The Value of Testing in Nutritional Psychiatry

nutritional psychiatryTreatment planning at Alternative to Meds Center has always included testing for nutritional deficiencies. As well as taking a “snapshot” of one’s nutritional deficits, other tests demonstrate the presence of heavy metals and other toxic materials that can wreak havoc on one’s health. Also, some genetic factors may also be discovered that may potentially affect metabolism or produce other important influences on neurochemistry. Additionally, the presence of allergens is also informative and extremely helpful in correcting nutrient regimens and planning other effective treatments.3

For More About Our Holistic Programs

We invite you to contact us directly for more detailed information about the inpatient treatments the center offers. Alternative to Meds Center has been a leader in holistic mental health treatments for many years. We treat mental health issues including addiction in our world-class facility applying holistic and nutritional psychiatry as well as functional medicine in all of our treatment programs.

1. Palmer, C “Making Sense of Nutritional Psychiatry,” Psychology Today Magazine [INTERNET] 2019 Sep 12 [cited 2020 Apr 20]

2. Korn, L “Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health – A complete guide to the food-mood connection.” Hardcover, WW Norton and Co. New York, published 2016 Jun 12, ISBN10 0393709949 [cited 2020 Apr 20]

3. Naidoo, U “Gut Feelings: How food affects your mood” Harvard Health Blog [INTERNET] December 7, 2017, updated 2019 Mar 27 [cited 2020 Apr 20]

4. Palmer, C “Chronic Schizophrenia Put Into Remission Without Medication,” Psychology Today [INTERNET] 2019 Apr 6 [cited 2020 Apr 28]

5. Monica Myklebust, The Healing Foods Pyramid: An Integrative Nutrition Tool,
EXPLORE, Volume 2, Issue 4, 2006, Pages 352-356, ISSN 1550-8307, 

6. Firth J, Marx W, Dash S, et al. The Effects of Dietary Improvement on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials [published correction appears in Psychosom Med. 2020 Jun;82(5):536]. Psychosom Med. 2019;81(3):265-280. doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000673 [cited 2021 Jan 10]f

7. Freitas-Simoes T, Cofan M, Biasco M, Soberon N, et. al., “Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition” NIMH, Nutrients MDPI [INTERNET] 2018 Dec 10 [cited 2020 May 27]

Originally Published Apr 21, 2020 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Nutritional Psychiatry
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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