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Gleneagle Clinic

Greygates | Stillorgan Road | Blackrock | Dublin

  • Surgery: (01) 288 1425
  • Out of hours: (01) 453 9333

Nutrition and Mental Health

Nutrients are key in managing mental illness. We at the Gleneagle Clinic adopt a holistic approach to mental health and use prescription medication is association with our nutrient protocols as appropriate.

The links between nutrition and mental health are quite intuitive and this is an area of great scientific endeavour in many parts of the world. In America, Dr Bill Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute has devoted his professional life to establishing the links between nutrients and mental health. There has been a bedrock of research done to study the role of nutrients in psychiatry.

Nutrients work in four major ways to improve mental health.

  1. Firstly, they are involved in the synthesis of new neurotransmitters.
    These are the chemical messengers in the brain that transmit impulses from one brain cell to the next. Vitamin B6, for example, is a cofactor in the production of Serotonin. This is the one of the key transmitters involved in the regulation of mood. With low levels of Vitamin B6, Serotonin cannot be produced optimally and symptoms may ensue.

    Zinc is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the nervous system and we measure Zinc Levels to make sure this important element is present in sufficient amounts.

    Copper is involved in the production of Adrenaline and therefore high levels of it can cause anxiety. This is particularly common in women taking the oral contraceptive pill. We are skilled in ways to reduce Copper levels using nutrients.
  2. The second way in which nutrients affect mental health is by a direct SSRI mechanism.
    This means that they serve to increase the levels of Serotonin in the synapse between brain cells. Vitamin B6 is especially important in this regard. We measure Serotonin levels indirectly and can advise on who is suitable for this form of nutrient therapy.
  3. Thirdly, nutrients such as Vitamin E and C have anti-oxidant effects on the brain that are beneficial long-term.
    This is protective against oxidative stress that is implicated in conditions including depression and cognitive decline.
  4. Fourthly, nutrients affect the methylation profile.
    This is critical in determining the function of a healthy brain. Too much or too little methyl can cause severe psychological illness, which can be managed with specific nutrients. We test for methylation in Chicago and adapt our treatment protocols to match the results. For example, over-methylation can be treated with Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, while under-methylation may require Methionine/ SAMe as well as support-nutrients

Recent studies have also shown that Vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12 at high doses can be effective in helping to prevent Alzheimer's Disease. This study was conducted in Oxford University and compared rates of brain damage in critical areas in those taking the nutrients and those not. Those taking the nutrients had more preserved neuroanatomical structure.

Nutrients are key in managing mental illness. We at the Gleneagle Clinic adopt a holistic approach to mental health and use prescription medication is association with our nutrient protocols as appropriate.