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Nutrition and immunology in mental health: Precision medicine and integrative approaches to address unmet clinical needs in psychiatric treatments

Chang JP, Su KP (2019) Brain Behav Immun 2019 Sep pii: S0889-1591(19)31232-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.09.022. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


The 'monoamine hypothesis' is insufficient in approaching the aetiology of psychiatric disorders or in developing novel therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests that inflammatory regulation plays an important role in pathophysiology and therapeutic mechanism across the major psychiatric disorders.

"Inflammation theory" might not be the full answer for the big picture of mental disorders, but it might explain high occurrence of somatic symptoms and comorbidity of physical illness in certain subtypes of the heterogeneous groups. Due to the complexity of clinical manifestations and bio-psycho-social etiology, each single treatment shows only small effectiveness with limited effect sizes when compared with placebo. Unfortunately, clinicians are still struggling with trial-and-error practice without any reliable clinical or biological markers to predict therapeutic responses. Therefore, it is important to open up our minds to integrative approaches such dietary modification and nutraceutical prescription.

In this special issue, we included 15 papers discussing the role of nutrition (blueberries, 
omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, melatonergic agonist, S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine, Cannabidiol and Kratom) in the context of immunoregulation across different psychiatric disorders from depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia to alcohol-induced dementia and anorexia nervosa.

Moreover, we also included research in perinatal depression that highlight the role of estradiol and the component of breast milk and the association with the neurodevelopment of the offspring.

In addition, several articles focused on the role of microbiota in mental health and 
pain as recent research has pointed to the gut-brain axis as a main regulator of brain, behaviour and immunity.

Lastly, inflammatory mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders including alcohol induced dementia and anorexia nervosa are also highlighted in the special issue.