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Mental Health and Nutrition

Gut gardening to improve mental health

The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, and research is finding that this microbiome has important impacts on our health and wellbeing. However, what do you do when you feel that your gut microbiome needs a boost? It is possible to change your microbiome, for both better and worse?University of Canterbury MSc Psychology student Jessica Heaton outlines interesting ways to improve our gut microbiome's bacterial diversity, and how this can impact our physical and mental health.

Fish oil supplements in New Zealand

Are NZ fish oil supplements safe, true to label and can they provide a health benefit?I recently co-authored an article in the New Zealand Medical Journal looking at whether omega-3 fatty acids contained in 10 fish oil supplements sold in NZ are true to label, accurate with health claims and safe to consume....

Exploring the microbiome and its relationship with infant health

For the past several years, through the NUTRIMUM study, Te Puna Toiora | UC’s Mental Health and Nutrition Research group has been investigating the effect that micronutrient supplementation, and maternal depression and anxiety can have on infant development. One of the aspects of interest in this research has been the collection of microbiome samples from mothers and...

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Nutrition

Not just a knock on the headA Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a trauma to the head that can cause damage to the brain. Data shows that the majority of TBIs are received from car accidents and falls. This makes children highly vulnerable.TBIs can be...

Kai and mental well-being

This Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week 2019, Taryn Hale showcases the importance of traditional kai in Te Whare Tapa Whā, the Māori wellbeing model.

Depression and anxiety: exploring micronutrient interventions

Wellbeing and the mediaYou would likely notice an increase in a variety of wellbeing interventions in the media recently. Some of these are called complementary and alternative medicines. These approaches are often popular as add-ons to conventional medications or as alternatives to seeking medical intervention. Complementary and alternative medicines are increasing in...

Can mineral-vitamin treatment change the microbiome? Yes it can!

Do people who suffer from specific psychiatric symptoms, like those associated with ADHD, have a different bacterial microbiome than those who don't have these symptoms? Are our bugs making us impulsive? Therefore, what if we changed out these bugs? What's the role nutrition plays? Professsor Julia Rucklidge explores some exciting connections.

Can nutrition be part of the treatment for antenatal anxiety and depression?

Pregnancy is a time where many physiological and psychosocial changes occur. It can bring feelings of excitement but also apprehensiveness and stress and is a period of increased vulnerability for the onset or relapse of mental illness. The most common mental health problems during pregnancy are anxiety and depression which are amongst the leading causes of maternal morbidity and...

Eating well under high stress

When we are under high stress, we can often reach for foods that are “comforting” (like biscuits, donuts, cake, pastries, and chocolate bars), but these foods may not be the best choice for feeding your brain under stressful and demanding circumstances. Comfort foods are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor.Further, under high stress (and it doesn’t actually matter what has...

Pleading for accuracy in trial reporting

Last week, Mariska Bot and colleagues published a clinical trial in JAMA whereby they randomized overweight or obese adults with subsyndromal depressive symptoms to placebo, micronutrients (400 mcg folic acid, 800IU vitamin D, 30 mcg selenium, 100 mg calcium, and 1412 mg DHA+EPA), micronutrients plus behavioural activation or placebo plus behavioural activation. Their primary outcome was cumulative onset of...