Diet and nutrition are gaining increasing attention for their importance to mental health. Herbs, such as St. John’s Warts, ginkgo biloba, rodiola, and others from African, Chinese and Indian traditions are finding their way into medicine chests in middle America (Brown, Gerbarg & Muskin, 2009) Some diet/nutrition based treatments claim success in treatment for types of schizophrenia. The elimination of gluten and sugar, orthomolecular psychiatry, and Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), are reportedly helpful in eliminating symptoms of schizophrenia.
It appears that gluten, which is found in wheat and a few other grains, may cause schizophrenia in some people. In one study it was found that the number of schizophrenia patients with celiac disease, caused by gluten intolerance, was 50 to 100 times what would be expected by chance. And 10 times more celiac patients had schizophrenia than in the general population. Gluten free populations, such as the Pacific Islanders, have been found to have an extremely low incidence of schizophrenia, 2 in 65,000 as opposed to 1 in 100 in grain-eating Western societies (Ji, 2013).
In another study, new-onset schizophrenia patients were given a gluten free diet. A few patients definitely improved, and returning to a diet with gluten made the affected patients a lot worse. In a third study, schizophrenia patients given a gluten and milk free diet were released into the community at a rate twice that of similar patients given a non restricted diet. While much research must still be done, it seems that it may well be worth the effort, at least 3 months, to see if a gluten free diet helps (Deans, 2011).
Orthomolecular psychiatry is the supplemental use of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty and amino acids, enzymes) that naturally occur in the body and the reduction or elimination of intoxicants (heavy metals and allergens) to rebalance a person’s internal environment and psychological balance. One recent articulation posits three main and other minor types of "schizophrenia" biotypes."Each phenotype involves a distinctive constellation of symptoms and traits that can assist in diagnosis." (Walsh, 2012).
Therapies to correct such imbalances included fasting, dietary changes, megavitamin and amino acid therapies, and body detoxification. Conventional neuroleptic drugs are deemed harmful. A basic regimen is the elimination of junk foods such as sugar, white flour, food additives, and allergenic foods, and supplements. According to the International Schizophrenia Association, orthomolecular treatment tailors a protocol to individual "biochemical needs and is reported to be effective in 80 percent or more of the cases. This treatment usually includes a special diet, nutrient supplementation, and therapeutic aids such as supportive psychotherapy, tranquilizers and medications as appropriate. Many people with schizophrenia suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and allergies which when treated can vastly improve their symptoms."
Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
GAPS is a syndrome which connects disoders of the gut with psychological issues. According to GAPS, when the gut is not functioning properly, the body is deprived of needed nutrients, toxins accumulate, and the body's immune system is weakened. As a result, physical symptoms such as digestive disorders, malnourishment, allergies, asthma, eczema, chronic cystitis, thrush and fussy eating habits manifest, as well as neuro-psychological and psychiatric problems such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and bi-polar disorder (Mercola, 2013).