Amino Acids and Antioxidants Could Treat Psychosis
A new scientific systemic review offers rekindled hope in the ability of nutrients to ease the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The study aimed to determine which main amino acids and antioxidants could reduce typical symptoms of schizophrenia in addition to standard treatment. They were most interested in the effects of Taurine, NAC (n-acetyal-cysteine) and vitamins like C, B-complex and B9 on psychotic illness.
Also, this information applies to the early stages of onset, called First-episode psychosis (FEP). This is the first evaluation of its kind on nutritional supplements for this problem.
First, the authors first explain in Early Intervention in Psychiatry, that,
First‐episode psychosis (FEP) refers to the first 2 to 5 years of a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia. The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medications, which reduce “positive symptoms” (eg, hallucinations and delusions) within weeks per month . However, 80% of patients relapse within 5 years , and only 1 in 6 achieve full recovery . Furthermore, “negative symptoms” (eg, low motivation and social withdrawal) and cognitive deficits (poor memory and concentration) persist despite antipsychotic treatment, causing much of the long‐term disability associated with schizophrenia (Green, Kern, Braff, & Mintz, . Therefore, to facilitate full recovery, new treatments are needed in the earliest stages of illness to reduce residual positive symptoms, and treat negative symptoms and cognitive deficits.
NICM, Western Sydney University reports:
The systematic review, led by Dr. Firth, Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University and honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester, examined if nutrient supplementation could provide effective ‘add on’ treatment for young people with psychosis.
The team brought together data from eight independent clinical trials of nutrient supplementation in 457 young people in the early stages of psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.
They did indeed find that certain nutrient supplements, used alongside standard treatment, “may improve mental health in young people with psychosis more than standard treatment alone.”
And the winner is….
Taurine amino acid by far showed the most significant results in improving symptoms of psychosis. Taurine is found in shellfish, turkey, meat, dairy and veggies/fruits like grapes that contain the precursor aminos. They noted [emphasis added],
A clinical trial conducted in Melbourne in 121 young patients with psychosis found that 4 grams of Taurine per day reduced psychotic symptoms within just 12 weeks.
Certain antioxidant supplements, such as n-acetyl cysteine and vitamin C, may also be effective – particularly for patients with high levels of ‘oxidative stress’.
Studies on omega-3 supplements showed that although these appear to improve brain health in young people with psychosis, the evidence for actually reducing psychotic symptoms is conflicting.
Since this is a review, of course they wish to replicate the trials they found before preaching the virtues. And they do plan on conducting a trial with a specialized multi-supplement in August 2018 in Sydney. They did conclude the the nutrients worked better in a complex rather than stand alone.
Notably, Dr Firth said,
Nutrient supplementation in the treatment of mental illness is something which can be surrounded by both cynicism and ‘hype’.
We conducted this review just to see if there is any ‘real evidence’ if such nutrients can actually help young people with psychosis.
Certainly, there is early indication that certain nutrients may be beneficial, not to replace standard treatment, but as an ‘add-on’ treatment for some patients.
Individual nutrients appear to have moderate effects on mental health, at best.
A combined nutrient intervention, explicitly designed from the evidence-base in psychosis, may therefore confer larger and more beneficial effects for young people with this condition.
This writer recommends reading the review. The writers really emphasize the role nutrition has had on mental health based on trials. Specifically, B vitamins and taurine.
Although America is a so-called “first-world country,” its people suffer from malnutrition and also excruciating mental health symptoms. A correlation, if nothing else. Additionally, the mental health of teens has deteriorated in the last five years. The mental health job sector is one of the fastest – and perhaps few – growing job sectors in the U.S., which is saying something.
Other recent studies have shown that CBD has an ameliorative affect on the symptoms of schizophrenia. Another study found that GABA can stop unwanted thoughts. Wouldn’t you know it – taurine is a precursor to GABA!