Αποστολέας Θέμα: Nutrition, Cognition and Mental Health: Looking for links.  (Αναγνώστηκε 4720 φορές)

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Nutrition, Cognition and Mental Health: Looking for links.
« στις: 16 Ιανουάριος 2012, 07:29:01 μμ »
This is a review of the relation between nutrition, brain functionality and mental health. In general, the role of food and exercise in the achievement of good health is popular however, are mental health issues and brain functions linked to nutritional problems?  Certain nutrients are needed in order to maintain a functional and developing brain activity and of course in order to maintain a healthy mental state. What follows is a preliminary introduction to a new field which includes nutritional neuroscience, nutritional therapy and counseling. What exactly are these food components and what is their function in our nervous system are the questions I will try to answer below. In any case, diet is an individuated procedure. The right choice of nutrients and their quantity require a scientific assessment by specialized professionals.

Studying Nutrition and Behavior

The studies of nutrition and nutritional therapies for mental disorders began mostly in 1970’s and 1980’s and stopped since then. The industry of synthetic psychiatric drugs and its specific biomedical logic have prevailed. In a first level, there are three obvious reasons. Firstly, pharmaceutical companies do not finance researches for nutritional therapies. Secondly, despite the risk of psychiatric medication and its side-effects, there is a lack of knowledge of using supplements and nutrients as treatments. And thirdly the apparent unwillingness and the lack of interest of the clinicians themselves (Lakhan & Vieira: 2008). In recent years, there has been a developing interest in nutrition, nutrients and nutritional supplements. Nutritional Neuroscience has emerged as a new field which studies nutritional components with central nervous system effects. However the study of nutrition, nutritional behavior, cognition and mental health is a really multi-dimensional question and contemporary, interdisciplinary research is strongly needed in order to address every aspect of nutritional behavior on cognition and mental state. Nutrition is a component of our physical and emotional health. Culture and life style influence our diet behavior.

Although the greatest threat to our health seems to be nutritional problems, it is mostly ignored. Western biomedicine approaches mental disorders more as genetic issues than as responses linked to nutrition. In a second level so, following healthy life style and nutritional habits depends also on our cultural reality. Unfortunately, we live in a cultural context of “magic pills” in which we want to heal quickly and directly the effects of our unhealthy behaviors and habits. Nutrition interventions form the other hand need time in a different meaning from industrialized time. On that base, the nutritional studies lead not just to another medical profession or neuroscience but to a deep synthesis of different approaches. We need to question the negative aspect of our culture in order to motivate research and change our nutritional habits (John A. Rush: 1996, 1999).

Nutrition and behavior are closely intertwined and the link between them is complicated; Nutrition is important in preventing and maintaining good mental health and brain activity. Nutritional therapy can contribute to the treatment of mental disorders and reduce the side-effects of psychiatric medication. Nutritional therapy is also needed during the recovery from substances abuse. In addition and according to DSM 4, there are problems in nutritional behavior known as “eating disorders” such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. Essentially, the link seems to be circular: nutrition influences our moods and in return moods influence our food choices and behaviors (ADA: 2006).

Nutrition and Brain Activity.

Nowadays, a culture-bound “need” to enhance mental energy in order to reach our every day goals has emerged. Mental energy has been defined as the “ability or willingness to engage in cognitive work” (Kanarek & Lieberman: 2011). Alike with the antidepressants, a tremendous debate about substances which enhance brain activity has developed and the consumers read articles in newspapers and watch advertisements on TV programs for products which contain such substances as caffeine and taurine. However, this is more a commercial marketing and less a research-based evidence of direct relation between “energy drinks” and healthy brain activity. Cognitive development is related to our nutritional choices and there are nutrients which help us to feed and protect the brain. Nevertheless, the logic of quick solutions and “magic pills” is at least ineffective and sometimes harmful.

Researches of the last 20 years have shown that imbalances of some nutrients such as antioxidants, thiamin, amino acids, fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, specific monosaccharides, vitamins and minerals in our body influence cognitive development and recovery. There are five neurotransmitters related to commonly consumed food: Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Histamine, and Acetylcholine. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of neurotransmitters and vitamins B and minerals contribute to their production, enhance brain activity and protect from brain damage. Also Omega 3 is structural component of the nervous cell membrane and part of myelin sheath (Kandel, Schwartz, Jessel: 2000). Therefore a poor diet, insufficient fluid intake, substances abuse and chemical dependency can affect the production, function and protection of neurotransmitters in the brain. If the neurotransmitter is limited the information flow stops and in turn, this stop causes remarkable changes in mood, appetite and of course deficits in cognitive function such as poor concentration (ADA: 2006, p. 7-8). Antioxidants help the body to eliminate psychoactive substances through metabolism of the drugs and then to protect our neurotransmitters. Disorders in cognitive development are frequently associated with nutrition and nutritional treatment. For instance, Organic brain syndrome results from thiamin deficiency as well as brain damage from alcohol (ADA: 2006, p.41) or magnesium and B6 vitamins deficiencies have been associated with autism (Martineau J: 1985). And also, impaired intellectual function such as Speech and hearing disturbances in infants and children have been associated with iodine deficiency in pregnancy and lactation (Zimmermann: 2008).

Nutrition and Mental Health.

Nutritional behavior has recently been associated with psychiatric conditions either as the trigger or as part of the treatment. Mental disorders such as depression, OCD, PTSD, Schizophrenia and bipolar depression have some nutritional implications usually overeating and under-eating. And additionally, eating disorders are linked to personality disorders such as the borderline, dependent and avoidant personality disorder (ADA: 2006, p.27). The lack of certain nutrients contributes to the development of mental disorders. According to recent studies, the most common nutritional deficiencies in patients suffering from mental disorders are of Omega 3, fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These nutrients can reduce both symptoms and side-effects of psychiatric drugs in patients. Side-effects of these drugs are the extra-pyramidal and other such as dry mouth, weight gain, constipation, etc. A good nutritional intervention can help the patient to overcome the side-effects and remain on his/her medication (Lakhan & Vieira: 2008).

As we see, some nutrients are necessary to neurotransmitters which regulate our mood.  Proteins and amino acids,  carbohydrates which increase the transport of beneficial proteins into the brain, and certain fats which become components of the protective membranes of brain cells, control many processes. Thiamine deficiency results in irritability and depression. Iron deficiency leads to difficulty in concentration and causes poor mood. Lack of vitamins B6 and B12 can causes extreme changes in mental status and depression.  Folate deficiency results in depression, apathy, fatigue, poor sleep and poor concentration. Simultaneously, eating habits such as eating breakfast or avoiding meals also influence our mental state. Thus, common nutritional components for treatment are tryptophan, tyrosine, Omega 3, Folate, Vitamin B, Magnesium, Vitamin C, lecithin ant taurine. However, further research studies must be conducted in order to identify the links of nutrition to mental health in details. It seems to be a really interesting field.

Foods for the Brain (best of).

Nutritional programs are a matter of specialized professionals and it is an individuated process. In any case, body works on the basis of homeostasis and the key to a good health is dynamic balance. Our daily allowance recommendations for nutrients based on nutrition researches, keep us from overtaken or less taken nutrient which directly result in serious health problems. Both healthy and unhealthy individuals need a personal assessment in order to follow a nutritional program. According to the American Dietetic Association, “Nutrition Care Process is a systematic problem-solving method used to critically think and make decisions to address nutrition related problems and provide safe and effective quality nutrition care by the dietitians. The four steps of the NCP are: Nutrition Assessment, Nutrition Diagnosis, Nutrition Intervention and Nutrition Monitoring. However as we said, a life-style-change is always needed in order to change nutritional habits, such us sufficient or insufficient sleep, exercise and fluid intake (ADA: 2006, p 99.).

Hydration and Brain Function. Body fluids must be always replaced. However an excessively fast rehydration can cause a rapid influx of water which may results in cerebral edema (homeostasis). Pure water intake is critical for life, thermoregulation and cellular function. Even mild levels of dehydration cause implications in mood and cognitive performance such as confusion, poor concentration, stress, and dementia. (Kanarek & Lieberman ed.: 2011).

Breakfast / Daily Meals. Avoiding meals is also a matter of life-style. Breakfast improves mood and cognition compared with eating no breakfast (Kanarek & Lieberman ed.: 2011).

Fish and notably Salmon Fish contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which Norepinephrine, Histamine (ADA: 2006).

Olive Oil Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, structural components of the nervous cell membrane and part of myelin sheath

Eggs. Acetylcholine, Vitamins, Serotonin (ADA: 2006).

Cocoa beans (Chocolate), Coffee, and Broccoli, Blueberries, Wine. Antioxidants.

Nuts Fat acids and Vitamins B. Major contributor to normal nervous system activity. Depletion of thiamine (B1) causes encephalopathy and Korsakoff's syndrome. Depletion of vitamin B12 causes megaloplastic anemia (Kandel, Schwartz, Jessel: 2000).

Vegetables and Fruits Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Antioxidants.

Sage and Rosemary Prevention of cognitive decline (Kaplan and Shaddock's: 1998).

Meat Norepinephrine, proteins (ADA: 2006).

In conclusion
The study of nutrition and nutritional counseling or therapy is an exciting one. Because of its interdisciplinary needs for assessment and intervention, it contrasts with the traditional pharmaceutical approach of mental illnesses. Until now, some fundamental research studies have been conducted and already, a number of nutrients have been associated with brain activity, cognition and mental health. However, there is a lack of interest from clinicians and a strong resistance from pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists to nutritional therapies. In any case, more studies and more specialized professionals are needed in order to develop a new and autonomous field of applied nutritional therapy.


References
American Dietetic Association, Behavioral Health Nutrition Group 2006, Psychiatric Nutrition Therapy: A resource guide of Dietetics Professionals practicing in Behavioral Health Care, Electronic Guide Publication.
American Psychiatric Association 1994, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.
Kanarek Robin & Lieberman Harris (ed.) 2011, Nutrition, Diet, Behavior: Practical implications, CRC Press.
Kandel Erick, Schwartz James, Jessel Thomas 2000, Principles of Neural Science, McGraw-Hill Medical 4th edition.
Kaplan and Shaddock’s, Synopsis of Psychiatry, Lippincott 8th edition.
Lakhan Shaheen and Vieira Karen 2008, “Nutritional therapies for mental disorders” in Nutrition Journal 2008, 7:2. Retrieved on 29/11/2011, http://www.nutritionj.com/content/7/1/2
Martineau, J., et al. 1985. "Vitamin B6, magnesium, and combined B6-Mg: therapeutic effects in childhood autism." Biol. Psychiatry 20(5):467-478.
Rush John, Clinical Anthropology: An Application of Anthropological Concepts within Clinical Settings, Praeger Publishers (August 30, 1996).
_Social Stress and Emotional Health: Applications of Clinical Anthropology, Auburn House (August 30, 1999).
Zimmermann Michael 2009, “Iodine deficiency in pregnancy and the effects of maternal iodine supplementation on the offspring: a review”, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009 Vol. 89/2. P. 668-672.
"Δεν γεννήθηκα για να μισώ αλλά για να αγαπώ". Sophocles.

Αποσυνδεδεμένος Sara

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Απ: Nutrition, Cognition and Mental Health: Looking for links.
« Απάντηση #1 στις: 16 Ιανουάριος 2012, 07:46:46 μμ »
Σύγνωμη τώρα τί είναι αυτό γιατί στα αγγλικά; Ελληνικό φόρουμ δεν είμαστε για κάνε μια μετάφραση google γρήγορα... :||

Αποσυνδεδεμένος clinical

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Απ: Nutrition, Cognition and Mental Health: Looking for links.
« Απάντηση #2 στις: 16 Ιανουάριος 2012, 08:44:59 μμ »
Ρίτα μου χωρίς προστακτικές γιατί έχω αλλεργία.

Δυστυχώς δεν έχω το χρόνο για μετάφραση λυπάμαι, το καταλαβαίνω ότι είναι θέμα τα αγγλικά, όντως αλλά δν προλαβαίνω να κάνω μετάφραση και το google δεν εξυπηρετεί καθόλου.

Δυστυχώς ή ευτυχώς υπάρχουν άρθρα και εργασίες που βρίσκονται μόνο στα αγγλικά.

Μπορείς να το κάνεις και μόνη σου αν έχεις χρόνο.

"Δεν γεννήθηκα για να μισώ αλλά για να αγαπώ". Sophocles.

Αποσυνδεδεμένος jimb

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    • το στεκι σας :)
Απ: Nutrition, Cognition and Mental Health: Looking for links.
« Απάντηση #3 στις: 16 Ιανουάριος 2012, 10:34:52 μμ »
clinical, βοηθησε λιγο την ριτα.... :)
"Θέλω να μου εξηγηθούν τα πάντα. Και ο Λόγος είναι αδύναμος μπροστά στην κραυγή της καρδιάς"

 

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