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Mental Health and Nutrition

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

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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.

Kai and mental well-being

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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.

Translating science to the real world: Nutrition as a front-line form of treatment after a traumatic event

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Disasters, both natural (e.g., earthquakes, floods) and human-made (e.g., terrorism, civil strife), affect communities worldwide, often causing immense disruption and suffering, and lasting psychological injuries.Living and working in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand has meant we have had our fair share of traumas, but then also the opportunity to study the effect of nutrients on our resilience.For example, on February...

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Nutrition

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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 hard to diagnose. It is not uncommon for people to brush...

Eating well under high stress

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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 caused the high stress, whether it...

Pleading for accuracy in trial reporting

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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...

Gut gardening to improve mental health

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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.

Should I get my nutrient levels checked to determine if I need to take a supplement?

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I have noticed a growing number of companies offering to measure nutrient levels and then offering a personalized treatment approach to address deficiencies identified. For example, I was asked by a member of the public what I thought of Spectral Cell Laboratories.Spectral Cell offers micronutrient testing from white blood cells (not the usual from serum or plasma). They test...

Depression and anxiety: exploring micronutrient interventions

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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 popularity as more people look for additional...

Can nutrients help people quit smoking?

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The idea that there might be a link between smoking and nutrition is one that is probably not thought about very often. We do know that smokers typically have poorer diets than nonsmokers but to date no one has investigated whether ensuring optimal nutrition levels when attempting to quit smoking might be relevant and even helpful in the quit...