Nutrition as part of the solution to the mental health crisis

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There has been a small explosion in research using nutrients for the treatment of mental illness over the last decade. The general premise is that our brains need nutrients to function and chemicals that are essential for good mental health, like dopamine and serotonin, require micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals.Preliminary clinical trials are putting micronutrients and good nutrition on...

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

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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...

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...

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...

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.

Preventing suicide: identifying risk and protective factors

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Over the past four years, New Zealand’s suicide statistics have continued to increase. In 2018, New Zealand's suicide rate was at its highest at 13.67 per 100,000. Males made up 75% of this number. That's almost double the amount of people that died on our roads last year.These statistics just “touch the surface” of New Zealand’s serious social and health crisis.  That doesn’t...

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...