London: Scientists claim that a good diet and proper nutrition is essential in maintaining mental health.
A new international study led by the University of Melbourne and Deakin University has stated that as with a range of medical conditions, psychiatry and public health should now recognise and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health.
Lead author, Dr Jerome Sarris said that while the determinants of mental health were complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggested that nutrition was as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.
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, he added.
Findings of the review revealed that in addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports the contention that nutrient-based prescription has the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders at the individual and population level.
Studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids.
"While we advocate for these to be consumed in the diet where possible, additional select prescription of these as nutraceuticals (nutrient supplements) may also be justified," Dr Sarris said.
It was time for clinicians to consider diet and additional nutrients as part of the treating package to manage the enormous burden of mental ill health, he said.
The study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry today.