Nutrients and Mental Health

 
As we enter the new millennium, the medical and scientific communities agree on the tremendous influence of neurotransmitters on behavior disorders, ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia.  Most persons with these disorders were born with a predisposition for these problems due to genetically-aberrant levels of specific neurotransmitters.  Our mental health is dependent upon having the proper amounts of these critical brain chemicals.

Some psychiatrists express their scorn for nutrient therapies, claiming that they are too puny to have any real clinical potency.  They often say, “You really need a drug medication to get the job done for a serious condition like depression.”  My favorite response begins by asking the question, “Where do our neurotransmitters come from?”

The brain is a chemical factory which produces serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and other brain chemicals 24 hours a day.  The only raw material for these syntheses is nutrients, namely amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc.  If the brain receives improper amounts of these nutrient building blocks, we can expect serious problems with our neurotransmitters.

For example, some depression patients have a genetic pyrrole disorder which renders them grossly depleted in vitamin B-6.  These individuals cannot efficiently create serotonin since B-6 is an important co-factor in the last step of its synthesis. Many of these persons report benefits from Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or other serotonin-enhancing medications.  However, similar benefits may also be achieved by simply giving these patients sufficient amounts of B-6 along with augmenting nutrients.

Most neurotransmitter problems appear to be genetic in nature and involve abnormal absorption, metabolism or storage of key nutrients.  As neuroscience advances, biochemical treatments to correct brain chemistry become better defined. Nutrient therapy can be very potent and does not involve side effects, since no molecules foreign to the body are needed.  This therapeutic approach may eventually eliminate the need for most psychiatric medications.