Supplements for Mental Health?

Some nutritional supplements may help treat mental health disorders

(RxWiki News) Can a nutritional supplement help manage depression symptoms? New research suggests that it's possible.

This new study reviewed existing studies of nearly 11,000 people to determine whether supplements can help manage mental health disorders. They found that some supplements may actually have an effect on your mental health.

"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," said lead study author Dr. Joseph Firth, of NICM Health Research Institute, in a press release.

It's important to note that many of the supplements these researchers studied did not significantly improve mental health conditions. However, this study did find that several supplements may be effective treatments to add to existing treatments for certain mental health conditions.

Omega-3 supplements produced the strongest evidence, this research showed. As an add-on treatment for antidepressants, omega-3 supplementation may further reduce depression symptoms. These researchers also found that omega-3 might have small benefits in those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While special kinds of folate supplements appeared to be effective add-on treatments for schizophrenia and depression, standard folic acid did not appear to have these benefits. Additionally, the amino acid N-acetylcysteine may work as an add-on treatment for schizophrenia and certain mood disorders, this study found.

Although there are many health claims surrounding certain vitamins and minerals, vitamins D, C, and E and the minerals magnesium and zinc did not appear to have any beneficial effects on mental disorders.

The researchers behind this study said future research should focus on targeted approaches to using nutrition in mental health treatment.

Keep in mind that this study only examined the mental health effects of certain supplements — not the overall health benefits. You should never start or stop taking any supplement or medication without first speaking with your health care provider.

This study was published in the journal World Psychiatry.

The Blackmores Institute Fellowship and National Health and Medical Research Council funded this research. The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
September 26, 2019