Evidence review concludes benefit for supplements in mental illness
September 11, 2019. The October 2019 issue of World Psychiatry: The Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association published a meta-synthesis of 33 meta-analyses that concluded a benefit for several dietary supplements in mental health disorders.
“In this most recent research, we have brought together the data from dozens and dozens of clinical trials conducted all over the world, in over 10,000 individuals treated for mental illness,” commented first author Joseph Firth of Western Sydney University. “This mass of data has allowed us to investigate the benefits and safety of various different nutrients for mental health conditions – on a larger scale than what has ever been possible before.”
Dr Firth and colleagues selected 33 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that included a total of 10,951 individuals with depression, stress and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The strongest evidence emerged in favor of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for major depression as an add-on treatment to antidepressant drugs. Omega-3 may also be effective in ADHD.
The review found evidence to support the use of the amino acid N-acetylcysteine in mood disorders and schizophrenia. While the synthetic form of the B vitamin folic acid was not found to be helpful in mental disorders, methylfolate (the bioactive form) was beneficial as an add-on therapy for schizophrenia as well as major depression.
“Future research should aim to determine which individuals might benefit most from evidence-based supplements and to better understand the underlying mechanisms so we can adopt a targeted approach to supplement use in mental health treatment,” recommended senior author Jerome Sarris.
“The role of the gut microbiome in mental health is a rapidly emerging field of research, however more research is needed into the role of ‘psychobiotics’ in mental health treatment,” he added.
via Life Extension What’s Hot Archive September 2019