Williamson K, Kilner K, and Clibbens N. (2015) J Nutr Science (4) 1-8
Psychosis increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type-2 diabetes, and reduces life expectancy. Despite the importance of diet in these associated health conditions, there remains limited data comparing the dietary habits of community-dwelling patients with psychosis – who have autonomy over their diet – with those of the general population.
Here we present findings from a retrospective evaluation of nutritional data collected between 2007 and 2013 from 143 individuals receiving treatment for first episode psychosis. Differences in mean nutrient intakes between the study cohort and the national sample were tested for statistical significance using independent t-tests, incorporating Satterthwaite's correction where required.
Average total energy intake was found to be lower for males (p=0.049) and higher for females (p=0.016) in the cohort with psychosis than in the corresponding sub-groups of the national sample. Females in the study cohort consumed 12.9g (95% CI: 4.3g - 21.5g) more total fat per day, whilst males consumed 7.7g (95% CI: 0.5g - 14.9g) less protein per day than the national sample.
Males in the patient cohort also showed significantly lower mean intakes than the national sample for folate, iron, selenium, vitamin D and zinc, but not vitamin C. The proportions of individuals not meeting the LRNIs, particularly for selenium (males 54.0% and females 57.1%) and for iron amongst females (29.6%), provides cause for concern regarding potentially severe deficiencies.
Further exploration of dietary habits with first episode psychosis are warranted to assess whether dietary change intervention can help individuals to make dietary changes that would benefit their physical and mental health and wellbeing. It would also be pertinent to assess any correlation between diet and mental health symptomology.