It’S just amazing how many people are interested in the impact of nutrition on mental health. I mean how many academics have this opportunity of speaking to an audience like this. So thank you for coming and this it’s. It really means a lot to me that my research is hopefully going to make a difference for you. Apparently, you may need to leave your questions until the end and I’ll probably speak for about 50 minutes.
And apparently, if you there’s an earthquake, then just get under the desk run out. Apparently, there’s a spot on cloud road so just to introduce myself I’m a professor of clinical psychology. I’Ve been at the University of Canterbury for 14 years now I came from Canada. I did my training at the University of Calgary under Bonnie Kaplan, who is just an phenomenal mentor and got me interested in the area of mental health and nutrition. I went to the University.
I went to the Hospital for Sick Children for two years for postdoc under rosemary tannic, again a phenomenal experience of someone who has such a wealth of knowledge in the area of ADHD and learning disabilities and that I’ve been lecturing here in the clinical program ever since. I very very early on in my career. I came to a conclusion and I sometimes think this is really sad to come to this conclusion. So early on in a career was that the work that we were doing for people with mental health wasn’t good enough that the people that we were seeing clinically the people who were receiving conventional treatments were not always getting better to the most optimal place. That we would like to see them get to, and so, despite receiving conventional treatments, what I was learning was that they were still impaired, that there were many people who continue to suffer, and I wondered: is there another way forward?
Is there something else that we can do and that led to the research that I’m going to talk about with you today? How many people here are know of people who suffer from mental illness and how many people here feel that the treatments that their relatives their friends are receiving is making them well, how many people think that we can do better? Okay, so I’m going to share with you some discoveries that I’ve been making. So one of the reasons why we are probably many of you are here today: volume up set better more. Are you sure, how’s that better okay?
I was told to just put it at a it’s going to start, echoing, that’s not it’s too high. Isn’T it? Okay, that’s all right! Okay! Think no other questions, though.
Okay. One of the reasons why we’re here today is that there’s an increasing prevalence of mental problems. If we look at the epidemic in New Zealand, one-sixth of New Zealanders are suffering from an mental illness in any one year. So that’s over half a million New Zealanders 3333 thousand of our children are diagnosed with an emotional and behavioral problem, including depression, anxiety and ADHD. That’S a two-fold increase, since the survey was done in 2006 2007 younger people, those who are economically disadvantaged, Maori and Pacific island people are more likely to suffer from psychological problems.
Mental disorders account for 23 percent of health-related disability worldwide, with depression, accounting for the second highest number of years lost to disability, and when we look at the research – and this is just a study – that’s looking at boys and girls from 1986 to 2006 – we see an Increase in the rates of depression being diagnosed in those children, the second reason that we’re here is that there is a danger of mental health care bankrupting our society. This is the projected forecast of the cost of mental illness. If it continues to go on the way it is, that is going to be increasing from 50 billion in 2011 upwards of 300 bill liyan. We have to do something about this. This data about the number of Americans on long term, disability for mental illness and we’re looking at the millions of adults who are affected and on mental on long term, disability from 1987 to 2007.
It’S been increasing. Now what is special about 1987? I started. I should be asking in 1987 prozac came out, prozac was supposed to make us all happy. Why have we got such an increase in the number of adults who are on a disability?
The third reason why many of us might be here is that our current gold standards are turning out to be less effective than hoped. The way we’ve understood drugs for the last several decades is that they have great benefit with very few side effects and very little withdrawal. That’S when we’ve been led to believe there was a study that came out this year. That was done by John Reid and colleagues from the University of Auckland. Looking at a surveying, 1829 New Zealand er New Zealanders who were taking antidepressants and they were asked about the side effects that they were experiencing now remember side effects are generally seen as being fairly minimal, but here’s what they found – 62 % reported sexual difficulties, 60 % Feeling emotionally numb 42 % feeling a reduction in positive feelings: 39 % caring less about others, 39 % feeling suicidal.
Now. You might say well, of course, they’re feeling suicidal because they’re depressed but they’re taking antidepressants. So if the antidepressants were so good, they shouldn’t be feeling. So suicidal 55 % of them experienced withdrawal, 27 % reporting being addicted to the drugs there’s. Another thing that you need to be aware – and this is coming out more and more in the media and in in books of popular books like Ben Goldacre book, called bad Pharma.
What he’s documented is that there’s a publication bias occurring. So if we just look at antidepressant medications in terms of what’s being published – and this is what be art we use in order to determine clinical effectiveness and whether or not a treatment should be used, 37 percent of the trials are positive that are published. Three are negative when they look at the unpublished, literature. What they find is that there’s only one unpublished, positive trial, but thirty-three unpublished. That means that 97 % of the trials that are positive are published and only 8 % of the negative trials are published.
So if you’re, a GP and you’re wondering whether or not a treatment is effective for depression, you look to the literature but you’re not going to be aware of the unpublished data. Half of the trials go missing. So then, when we look at this risk and benefit ratio, maybe it’s more like this that the benefit of the drugs is not as good as we hoped and the side effects on the withdrawal may be much larger than we expected. Let’S look at long-term outcomes for a few medications and I’m going to choose stimulants as the four the first one to give you some some data on stimulants. That’S ritalin those of the drugs that are used for our children who have ADHD.
There was a massive study that was done that started in the late 1990s called the mth role and what they did was they looked at whether or not medications were better than the stimulants were better than placebo, a better than community treatment better than better than medication. Plus cognitive behavior therapy, what they found was that medications in the short term were the best treatment, and that was regardless of whether or not it was combined with the behavior therapies. And so the conclusion of that particular study – and it was a large trial – was that medications really are. There should be the primary way forward in treating people who have ADHD. The three-year data, though, is concerning those who are medicated show an increased core symptoms.
Higher delinquency scores and greater overall functional impairment than those children who were unmedicated. We need to pay attention to this data because in the long-term it looks like we might be having a negative effect on children with ADHD when we use the stimulants, despite the fact that in the short term, the effects are very positive and we need to make That risk-benefit analysis to determine whether or not it’s worth medicating children for an acute effect versus the potential long-term risk. This study just came out in 2014 and it’s alarming. This is looking at the long-term use of antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia. The one in this one here in in block is looking at the rate of psychotic activity in people with schizophrenia who stay on medication.
The data down here are showing the psychotic activity of those who remain unmedicated all the way through that 20-year span. I don’t know about you, but when I look at this data I’m concerned there are, of course it’s a naturalistic follow-up. So there are questions around whether or not these people here or perhaps more severe than these people here, but at the end of the day, we’re not eliminating the psychotic activity with anti-psychotic medication, they’re continuing to suffer and that the people who were unmedicated don’t have an Increase in psychotic activity over time they actually do much better, and so these findings clearly go against the recommendation that schizophrenic patients have to continue taking their medication long term in order to prevent relapse. The optimal care using today’s medications to many people will not recover and in New Zealand. This study again just came out 2014 by Roger Mulder and Chris Frampton, and what they did was they looked at the outcomes of people with mood disorders before the advent of psychopharmacology and what they actually came to.
The conclusion was that, back in the time when psychopharmacology wasn’t being used, people actually did quite well and what they concluded from their data and looking at it and comparing it to how well the outcomes are for people who are depressed now that we do use psychopharmacology Regular was that the rate of recovery and remaining well appears high compared to modern cohorts. This review provides no support to the belief that pharmacological treatments have resulted in an improvement in the long term outcome of patients with mood disorders. These studies are all having coming out over the last five years. This is new, but I think we need to pay attention. So what are we to do?
I wonder with all of this data. That’S suggesting the long-term outcomes of using medications are less than optimal. Maybe it’s time to revisit a very old idea, and that is looking at the effect of nutrition on our mental health and we’ve known this for centuries let food be thy medicine and let thy met medicine be thy food. Mrs
Beeton book of household management actually came out in 1861. My coffee was 1895.
What did she say? She said? Diet can cure where drugs are useless or worse. Diet is always harmless where drugs are usually dangerous, the people’s home library this was used by pioneers and what it said about the cause of insanity was imperfect nutrition. So we knew about the importance of diet for mental health in biblical times and Greek times in Pioneer homesteading times.
But what do we know about it? In the 21st century, early poor nutrition is proving a risk factor for ongoing psychological problems. Children who are malnourished in the first six years of their life have been found thirty to forty years later, to have an increased risk for psychological problems. Women malnourished in pregnancy, during times of famine, have been known to have offspring, with an increased risk for psychological problems. Women who eat the Western diet during pregnancy and or show a low adherence to the Mediterranean diet or a prudent diet, show increased risk that their offspring are going to develop psychological symptoms.
So early nutrition is essential. Building blocks for good health. There have been a lot of Association studies that, where you look at people with mental illness, you look at their their rates of mental illness within a population, and you compare that with what they’re eating and what they look at here is they’re. Looking at dietary patterns and so they’re deciding whether or not someone Falls and say a healthy dietary pattern or they lower a Mediterranean type of a prudent type of pattern or healthy, healthier pattern of diet intake and in these studies they use huge cohorts. They use lots of, they have thousands and thousands of people where they they assess their diet and they determine what kind of dietary pattern they fall into and in these Association studies, what they find over and over again is that people who are eating say a low Intake of healthy foods have a much higher rate of problems.
Mental health problems than those who have a higher intake and those who are having the higher intake of unhealthy foods equally have a higher rate of mental health problems, and so this is showing that what you’re eating currently isn’t related to your mental health. But the issue associated with these studies is that it could be that what you’re, how you’re feeling influences what you eat, and so that’s called the reverse causation bias and you can’t determine which direction is going in with these types of cross-sectional studies. So we need to look at longitudinal studies, that is, they look looking at your dietary pattern at time X and then follow you to time Y and see what your mental health is at time Y to see whether what you were eating at time X can predict How you’re feeling at time Y? So in this study they looked at three and a half thousand people in the UK and what they and they follow them for five years. And then they looked at depression at the end of that and what they found was that people who were more likely to be eating at stern dietary pattern, we’re more likely increased odds of developing depression and that eating Whole Foods was protective.
So this is contrary to the reverse, causality hypothesis. It’S suggesting that what you’re eating can have a difference in terms of your mental health down the road another study – this is huge. This is over 80,000 people who were surveyed in Japan and followed for four years and what they found was it a prudent dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms seaweed and fresh fish was associated with a decreased risk of suicide. Another study – this is the Sun study. This is has over 9,000 people within this study, and what they did was that they took nine thousand people who were not depressed and not taking antidepressants and followed them over a six-year period to determine whether or not any of them became depressed, and they found that 493 of those people became depressed and what they were able to show was.
It was related to what you were eating, so the more likely that you were eating fast food, the higher the chances that you would develop. Depression, processed pastries, muffins, donuts again the same pattern: the more you’re eating those types of foods, the greater your risk of depression within six point two years. So these studies from Australia, Spain and the UK in a nutshell suggest that people who eat traditional unprocessed Mediterranean, prudent types of diets have lower rates of mood and anxiety disorders, whereas the people who eat Western processed diets have higher rates of mood and anxiety to symptoms. The Mediterranean diet, just for those who don’t know what that is: that’s people! That’S lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, high legumes, a lot of whole grains fish, small amount of eat, low-fat dairy and low to moderate alcohol.
So, what’s good about the Mediterranean prudent diets, but that they have a lot of vitamins and minerals and what’s wrong with Footwear at Western process diets is that they have fewer vitamins and minerals, and so what is the obvious solution? Let’S tell everyone to eat better! That’S easy, isn’t it so it’s easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet, and I asked one of my children if, if he was allowed to eat whatever he wanted and that his parents didn’t control what he ate, what would he eat for the Day – and there was fortunately one Apple in there, so I felt that we’ve had some influence on him, but otherwise it was McDonald’s. Fries past I’m embarrassed to say, say this: a pancakes bacon and trying to think what else there was that’s, not bad. That was his diet for the day anyway, so I think, left to their own devices.
Children would likely make some fairly interesting dietary choices, so we do have to have an influence them and in terms of what what’s happening in schools that it’s important, that what’s up. What’S available to children in schools is, is a nutritious one, nutritious diet, so, but then, even if we could change people’s diets. My question is what a chine change and diet work for everyone, and I’m not sure, but I think it’s unlikely, particularly for people who are vulnerable to mental illness and I’ll just try to walk through and tell you why. I think that the first thing is that our soil is not generally remineralized, we add nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, but oftentimes we don’t give any of the other put any of the other minerals back into the soil. Nutrient content of our food is decreased and I’ll.
Show you some data on this one and that rapidly growing crops may be nutrient poor. The use of glyphosate grit, roundup, glyphosate exposure has been found to result in poor capture of minerals from the soil and nutrient poor crops. So the use of the herbicides and pesticides can be influencing the food and the nutrient content of your food that you eat some other more personal in your individual things that can go on the health of our gut is vir is essential for the absorption of food. You’Re, not what you eat, you’re, what you can absorb, and so, if your gut is unhealthy due to the use of antibiotics or food and sensitivities or potentially that you’re you’re gluten intolerant, etc, etc. That’S going to all influence the nutrients that your body will get out of the food, even if it’s nutritious and another thing to think about is what it’s called biochemical individuality, and that is that our nutritional needs across the human race can vary and that each one Of us has a nutrition, a different nutritional need than someone else, so some people can get by with nutrient deficient foods, whereas others may be more vulnerable to the nutrient depletion in the food and then show the expression of illness.
Another thing that could be going on is that we all that some people inherit what’s called an inborn error of metabolism and that that influences how well you can use the nutrients that you get out of your food. This means that the metabolic reactions that are occurring inside of us are are less than optimal in someone who has this type of genetic deficiency, what we know, though, in the area of physical illness, is that if you flood the system with the new say the vitamin That is, that is that, where you have a jam, you tation that prevents you from metabolizing say a vitamin and you give a high dose of it. You can correct it so that optimal functioning can be reinstated. So if we look at want to show you about the decrease in mineral content, this did that this data comes from the UK and what they did was they looked at the night of the 1947 versus 1997 in terms of the mineral content of vegetable and what Mayor and colleagues were able to show was that there’s been an overall depletion in the mineral content of our food over that 50-year period, so an apple of 1947 was far more nutritious than an apple of 1997. So this now comes round to the idea of, should we then consider supplementing with micronutrients, that is, minerals and vitamins, and if so, should we use single or should we use multiple and I’m one to believe based on reading the literature and trying to understand, what’s going On physiologically to think that giving a single nutrient makes not no physiological sense.
What I’ve shown here is just the chemical pathways that are required in order to make serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter, that’s involved in in mood. If we look at all these pathways, what we find is that we need different minerals and vitamins, a group of them in order for those chemical reactions to occur so copper, vitamin b6 iron etc, so that giving one nutrient makes no sense. If you’re trying to correct in it and provide the body with all the nutrients that are required for optimal functioning here’s another example. This is the Krebs cycle. This is a so complicated when I don’t expect you to to understand what’s happening here, but the reason I put this up was to appreciate that for the the formation of ATP, which is required for making energy providing us with energy through the mitochondria that we need Again, a whole host of different minerals and vitamins for this, the reactions to occur so thiamine iron, magnesium, riboflavin, etc.
So all of those nutrients are required for the mitochondria to function effectively. So the conclusion of, if you think about it like this, then what we should come to is to think if we’re searching for the magic bullet, the magic nutrient, we’re, probably not going to get very far, there’s been an enormous amount of research. That’S been looking for. One nutrient we look at the area of ADHD. There’S been all these studies that have been done on zinc or iron.
People are really excited these days about vitamin D and depression. We we have this way of thinking that we can only manipulate one ingredient at a time in order to see whether or not it’s a gun in effect. But really, if we look at it physiologically, it doesn’t make sense to just do. Studies that are driven to look for the one single magic bullet, and so the approach that I’ve been taking. My research is to look at a broad spectrum approach of using a broad number of micronutrients in order to see whether or not that that can have a difference on psychological health just to really bring this one home.
What I want you to just have a look at is this is an example of all of deficiencies that are occurring in the American population. This that’s where this data came from, that there can be deficiencies across a number of different nutrients. Now, if we overlay this onto a dam and just imagine that those are holes and the dam and if there’s a obviously the water is going to come out of the one where there’s the greatest hole. But if we plug that hole, then all it’s going to happen is that the water is going to emerge from somewhere else and so really addressing our physiological need. One nutrient at a time does it make sense.
The only way you’re going to be able to plug it up is by providing all of the nutrients in combination. So, what’s the evidence, so what I’m going to do now is I’m going to go through a progression of evidence, case studies, series case series, case, series of hundreds case, control, randomized control trials and then rule out into clinical practice, and why is this level of evidence? So important and that’s because that’s evidence based medicine, we need these types of studies in order for us to make a difference in terms of clinical practice, so case studies, here’s one example: we have many these cases in our lab and I’ve just chosen one to illustrate The point Brian’s a 20 year old male he’s got a host of whole host of psychiatric illness. When he comes to the lab, he’s got ADHD, he’s got depression, he’s got anxiety and he’s abusing cannabis, and nicotine he’s being tried on a whole host of different medications. Many of them not having any effect on his symptoms whatsoever.
He goes into an on-off on-off type of design. That is where goes on. The nutrients comes off of them in a controlled way. Goes back on his last one was more of a natural off because of the Brisbane floods and then the earthquake, so he ended up on a much longer off period, and so this is just showing the change in his symptoms over that period of time. These are two scores and 50 right here.
I just shown the clinical cutoff so he’s up here, he’s very impaired in his ADHD symptoms, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and after eight weeks he drops down into the normal range. He goes off. He returns back up there. He goes on and he returns back into the non-clinical range. How big is this effect?
It’S a change of four standard deviations was equivalent to somebody growing from four foot ten to five foot. Ten, that’s a huge effect, we’re not observing small effects. Here, that’s a change in 30 centimeters people should pay attention to changes. Like that case series, this is just looking at eleven adults in their depression, mania and psychosis, and their means are dropping substantially when, within into a normal clinical non-clinical range across the board and all of those symptoms that were measured a case series of hundreds. This is a database analysis where we looked at 120 children who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder who were put on micronutrients and despite the fact that many of them were on medications which can often complicate the response to the micronutrients.
We still saw that 50 % of them had a greater than 50 % reduction in their psychiatric symptoms, which is used as a as a marker of clinical response case control. This is where you compare one group with another group: that’s been matched, and the example that I’m going to give you here is an autism. This is a study that was done by a psychiatrist and Mel from Louisville madrone in Saskatchewan, and he was he has a private practice and he had 44 people who had been diagnosed with autism, who had chosen to use vitamins and minerals for the treatment of their Their symptoms, and so he collected data from another 44 people in his clinic who had chosen to use medication. So what this is showing is that not only was the micronutrient group better, they bet than medication group. Not only did we see a change in the micronutrient group, but it was better than the medication group, and the other thing that they observed was that the self injurious behavior that can happen for a lot of children and adults with autism was substantially and significantly decreased.
In the group of children and adults who were taking the micronutrients with no change in the group taking the medications randomized control trials, I reviewed this literature literature a year ago and actually was was surprised at how many randomized control trials that have been done on using Micronutrients for the treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD post-traumatic stress disorder, stress autism and offenders, there’s a over 20 positive randomized control trials that are showing benefit of micronutrients compared to placebo. In the treatment of these psychiatric conditions, there were six negative trials when we did this review. The interesting thing about those six negative trials was: it was done on populations where they didn’t have a psychiatric illness, so they had collected people from the the general population and then looked to see whether or not micronutrients would have an effect on their mood. So you’re going to be it’s less likely that you’re going to find an effect because they’re not depressed to begin with. So I’m going to give you just a sample of these studies just so that you can get a flavor of what the randomized controlled trials are.
Finding this one is looking at supplementation in the prison population, 231 young adult prisoners and what they looked at was the rate of disciplinary incidents within the prison and found a much greater 35 % decrease in that in the number of disciplinary incidents occurring in those taking The micronutrients versus only 7 % in those taking the placebo. This data here was collected here in Christchurch in my lab. After the earthquakes we randomized 91 people within our community about two months after the earthquake, who were suffering from stress, depression, anxiety and we gave them different. We gave them some of them: high doses of B vitamins, low dose of vitamins and minerals and then a higher dose of vitamins and minerals. And what surprised us was how effective the micronutrient formulas were in reducing the rates of PTSD symptoms within our population over a four-week period, some really substantial changes, but one in 8 women in Christchurch are now taking antidepressants for straws.
Nobody, everyone ignores this data. This is the control group over here. No difference no change, so one of the thoughts that I’ve got on whether on why we see such benefits in reduction of stress after the earthquake using vitamins and minerals, is that you need to think about the body like a true that there’s a triage and that The more severe patients always get treated first, so in the body we, the fight/flight response, is going to take all your nutrients and that will always get priority over things. That may have a consequence in the long term for survival, but have no immediate repercussions in the short-term and so by giving and supplementing the body with the nutrients. During a time of high stress, we’re providing the body with the additional nutrients that it probably needs.
And what is it? Was it protective in the long term? So we followed those people who, in that study a year later, to see how they were doing, and what we found was that those we had treated continue to do well and reduced right down into a very low range and stress. The control group did decrease, but they’re still significantly higher than the group who we had treated acutely. The other thing we were able to do with this data and the long term was to look at whether or not people who had been who had stayed on the nutrients and how did they do and also how did you do if you were switched to medications Which happened to a lot of people who went through our study at the end of the study, people who stayed on the nutrients were significantly better off than those here who switched to medications.
This is a study looking at the effects of micronutrients on autistic behaviors, and what this study found was that there was benefit in the much greater change in receptive language, hyperactivity and tantra mean in those children and adults who had been put on micronutrients compared to placebo. I wonder if it would have been an even greater effect, though, if they had looked at the health of the gut, because we know that in people with autism that the absorption of nutrients through the gut is, can be compromised. This is a study that we published this year, looking at the effects of nutrients on ADHD behaviors, again significant effects, much greater changes in hyperactivity and in attention and those adults who were given the micronutrients compared to placebo, with medium to large effect sizes. We were able to look at depression in our study because we had a certain number of people who entered our ADR trial with ADHD, also depressed, and so we looked at that subgroup again much greater change in depression scores in those people who were taking the micronutrients Compared to placebo, we followed them up over long-term. This is one year later, and what we’re finding is that those people here who stay on the micronutrients stay well and those people who come off of the micronutrients revert and those people here who actually are ones who haven’t done as well on the micronutrients, have had Some change, but not as great switch to medications, and it doesn’t make a huge difference.
I’M going to show you a video of two young people: two mothers talking about their children in a pilot study that was run by graduate student of mine, Heather, Gordon who’s sitting over here in the audience over here. So she collected this wonderful data. One of the things that we noticed is that the change is never. It’S not acquit not typically a quick change that it’s a very, very gradual change over several weeks where we see very slow changes over time and then something you realize that these children have changed. But the other thing to notice is that when it works and it doesn’t work for everyone, I don’t want to say that we’re curing every single person who comes into our clinic we’re probably benefiting between sixty to eighty percent of people we see, but when it works, We observe that there’s change across the board.
It’S not just in the thing that we’re studying that is ADHD, we’re seeing the change. You know T talked about the change in the bedwetting or the anxiety or just getting on better with other children. So we have all these unexpected effects that are happening as well. So does any of this that I’ve gone over amount to any type of evidence whatsoever, and I guess I’d say it depends on how we conceptualize mental illness. We have a couple of randomized control trials in different areas like ADHD, anxiety or stress, or one in a couple of in autism, etc.
Does that amount to evidence, and I think that if we see them as being discrete categories, then we’d say that there isn’t much evidence, but if we see them as being perhaps that the there’s an underlying problem, that’s expressing itself differently in different people. Well then, maybe we have a little bit of evidence here. Bradford Hill, who is the one who created the basis of the modern randomized control trial, actually saw some some some disadvantages to that in terms of it doesn’t capture the the breadth of what we should be looking at in terms of causation, and so he identified some Other things that we need to look in terms of establishing causation, I feel that I’ve shown biological rationale. I’Ve shown the strength of the Association, the clinical significance that we’re changing people’s lives, the consistency of evidence across different places across different countries, a proceeding B. That is that we give the treatment and then the change occurs, and then I’ve shown you a lot of randomized control trials and other evidence showing some benefit well.
But then I hear that vitamins are killing us. How many of you heard that in the media? Just a few: that’s it G with you. I hear about it. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of tuned in, but there was a study that came out in 2007, and this was the title: mortality and randomised trials of antioxidant supplements for primary and secondary prevention.
A systematic review and meta-analysis and what they found was that there was a small increase and in those people who were taking the antioxidants, there was a slightly higher number of deaths in that group compared to those who were receiving no intervention or placebo. If you look at the data a little bit more closely, what we find is that there were seventeen thousand eight hundred and eighty deaths, which is thirteen point, one percent of those taking the into the antioxidants verses. Ten thousand on the other group, which is ten point, five percent, so that the difference of 2.6 %, which is a fairly small number and if anyone understands an odds ratio, it’s one point: zero. Four.
It reaches significance because it’s such a large sample, but it’s a very, very small effect. The other thing is that they looked at all cause all cause. Mortality all cause mortality is that you didn’t die Nessus. We don’t know whether or not you died because of taking the vitamins. People will have died because of dying in a plane crash or accidents, or all of that so they’re, looking they’re, not de stablishing, why you died.
The other thing is that they eliminated any trial where no one died in the trial. So what was the press on this? If you put us put this into a search engine, it’s endless popular but dangerous. Three vitamins that hurts. You don’t take your vitamins, your vitamin.
What maybe killing you the case against multivitamins grow stronger? Are your morning vitamin slowly killing you vitamin overdose? How supplement pills can kill you now your vitamins they’re killing you and then the AMA said the big vitamin scare American Medical Association claims. Vitamins may kill you, so that was the the conclusion, and that was the media attention that was was was drawn on on that study. Well, we didn’t really hear about is that there were some other studies that looked at the same thing and didn’t find any relationships in terms of mortality and the use of vitamins and minerals.
But these studies didn’t get much of time, much press. So here’s one that found no association, this one again found no no association whatsoever. In fact, there were some protective effects of using some of the multivitamins, and then this one looked at whether or not you these people in that meta-analysis, where there was the 2.6 percent increased risk of death from all causes, mortality that there were a third of them In those studies that actually reported a positive benefit of taking the antioxidants, so ultimately, though, you do need to do a risk benefit analysis about whether or not you should take vitamins. Even if that risk is true, the 2.
% it’s all risk, and you need to consider that, within the context of the benefit that you may experience from taking the vitamins and minerals and whether or not you’re taking them to treat something. We also need to think about it in terms of relative risk relative risk to a whole bunch of other things that do kill us, so this is looking at risk in Australia of death based on a whole bunch of different things, and those this largest one here Is preventable medical injury in hospitals? This is preventable pharmaceutical adverse reactions in hospitals, traffic accidents gets a much smaller one soldiers serving in Afghanistan, horse riding drowning workplace accidents, and this is the complementary medicines dot too small to print. Just to give you a little bit of an idea about micronutrient safety, we’re really focused on right on recommended daily allowances. That’S the RDA, but actually there’s a huge room of an opportunity here before you get to what’s called the toxic level or the upper limit of the micronutrient safety.
And so we do lots of people get really concerned about giving vitamins and minerals in a level. That’S higher than RDA and that’s what we do, but you need to be aware that this is a large space here, where we can give them nutrients safely, and that’s probably where we’re going to get the benefit is by giving them in a much higher dose than Just RDA from our studies using micronutrients, we find very few side effects. In fact, no group differences between those taking micronutrients and those taking some placebo, the types of side effects that are reported to us or things like gastrointestinal and headaches. Often in the first few weeks that tend to resolve after making that once they make, we make sure that they’re taking it with food and plenty of water, it’s remarkable are the compliance rates in our group, wheat, the micronutrients that we’re using we give them at a Dose of 12 to 15 pills a day, and we are finding that we’re very successful at getting people to get into a routine of taking the nutrients. We’Ve looked at blood results, the only thing that’s that come up and the blood results, a slight increase in those people taking micronutrients compared to placebo in terms of prolactin levels, but they still stay within the normal range.
That’S given on the blood tests. We need, though, to study the long term effects. That’S that’s very, very important for this field of work, so the finally the roll out into clinical practice. I think we have some political challenges here for this to roll out effectively into clinical practice. I think the pharmaceutical industry has to come clean as long as we think that the treatments that we’re receiving right now in terms of form of drugs for the treatment of mental illness are good and efficacious.
And it’s going to be really hard for any other treatment. To have any of impact, and if we start to look at the evidence, it’s not as good as we thought it was, and it should influence clinical practice. And I don’t know how many people understand out there that we fund our tax dollars fund off-label use of drugs. That’S when you get a drug where it was you it was. It was given approval for the treatment of psychosis, but it’s given for the treatment of sleep.
You don’t need to have evidence for that. There is no Universal prevention approach to address poor diet. This needs to change. Do we need government legislation with respect to diet and food in order for there to be a much greater change so akin to the changes in terms of smoking legislation so that people can? We can get a reduction in the number of people who are smoking, or does it need to come from the grassroots?
We all have a choice in what we eat and if everyone stopped eating from the middle of the supermarket, which is where that’s high likelihood of finding processed and packaged foods and only shopped around the outside, where you have your fresh foods, then we can make a Change we can, we, you can all make a difference to what’s available to us. Nutrients are not currently covered by our healthcare system, so, even when we find that we can help people and that they benefit from it, they often go back to medications because they can’t afford to stay on the nutrients, because the medications are free and the nutrients aren’t. Let me tell you about a case. This is looking at cost-effectiveness. This is Andrew.
Andrew at age, 10 had disturbances in sleep. He had hallucinations delusions problems with concentration. He was paranoid. He felt that his food was poisoned, that he was a murderer and adulterer and he was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital inpatient mental health. For six months.
He had every test imaginable and he was put on a whole host of different medications to try to change his symptoms after six months, various medication trials. He was discharged completely unchanged. The parents heard out about heard about the micronutrients and they approached the psychiatrist and said we’d like to try the micronutrients to help our son, and so they so they talked to Megan rod, Wei, who was the psychiatrist who was treating him, and she said this is Snake oil, but I don’t have anything better to offer within six months of being on the micronutrient and Roo psychiatric symptoms, were all gone and maintained for years later, no clinically significant anxiety, no psychotic symptoms he’s enjoying school, he has friends and he has normal relationships. This is looking at his hallucinations and delusions and how they decreased on the micronutrients over that six-month period. Let’S look at the cost.
I read it in the newspaper this morning that it’s $ 500 a night to keep a mental health patient in our hospitals. Wasn’T it? Okay, so it cost the Alberta health care system. One hundred and fifty eight thousand dollars to have Andrew sit in a hospital for six months and not get better the same amount of time. Six months on the nights and micronutrients.
It seems to me that, and this isn’t covered we won’t. We won’t try this first, but I think we owe it to these children to try something first, that we know doesn’t carry as great harm as we know the medications carry. We owe it to them to be exploring other avenues. The problem with the micronutrient that are available in our supermarket is that none of them have ever been studied for the treatment of psychiatric illness and they’re not developed that way, and they probably nobody, will because the market available, it’s quite small relative to the market available. For the general population, so there are actually very few micronutrient formulas that have been studied along with Ian Shaw is a chemist here at UC.
I am a graduate student Amy Harris. We looked at the doses of nutrients within the sort of supermarket products and we compared them to the formulas that had been studied in research and what we found was that the dose of the of the counter supplements with nothing compared to the dose that was required. In order to have a difference in the in the psychiatric symptoms, that was sorry that one was b1 here’s another example: b6 b12, so the dose is important, and so, if you think that you can walk away from here and go and buy a one a day And have the effects that we’ve I’ve been showing you here. Let me know, please let me know, but I suspect that I won’t have the same difference. I just show the slide, because people always ask me: well what are the well, what is useful, and so what I’ve done is put together, the ones that have some evidences at some level to help with mental illness, and I’m happy to provide this to anyone who Emails me or or and/or, asked me about it, and the ones that we’ve been studying are one called empower, plus I’ve studied baraka daily essential nutrients daily self-defense, the ones that we’ve been using in our lab.
So, in closing, the messages that I’m not giving are the only cause of mental disorders is imperfect. Nutrition. Of course there are other things. There are other risk factors that genetics there’s environmental toxins there’s trauma. There are other reasons why people get mentally ill.
So I’m just talking about one risk factor everything can be cured with nutrients. I said that there are some people who don’t benefit so we’re not making it we’re, not hearing everyone, but we certainly are having an impact on a substantial number of people that we see and all psychiatric medications is bad. That’S not a message I want to give, but what I do want to say is that if they’re less they’re there they’re not as effective as we thought they were, but there are certainly, of course, people who have benefited from medications. So in conclusion, physiologically it makes sense. I hope I’ve convinced you of that to provide the body in the brain with the nutrients to optimize functioning for those with psychiatric symptoms.
If this cannot be achieved through diet, manipulation alone, then maybe you need additional nutrients and after a decade of research, most studies on broad-spectrum nutrients are positive across different countries, different formulas and different mental health conditions, and so what if nutrition could treat mental illness? Maybe we go from this, where our standard is that we give medications first, you might get some psychotherapy and other things to this, where we focus on lifestyle, diet and supplements and that, if that’s not effective, then we look at doing some stress reduction, psychotherapy and only After that, do we go to meds if none of these other things have been effective? It’S our choice. We all every time you make that decision of what you put in your mouth. You have a choice.
You have a choice of what you eat, and so finally, I want to acknowledge the funding sources, it’s very difficult to get funding for this work, but I’ve had some wonderful support from the victim is trust the University of Canterbury and a private donation from Mary Lackey Who’S, a woman who really knows that nutrition is important to mental health and has it had the courage to support my research, but I also want to acknowledge all the wonderful people who are in my lab, and many of them are sitting just over there all together. My graduate students – I can’t do this work without my students, the collaborators, the psychiatrists, the medical practitioners in the clinical psychologists in the community who have all made this work happen. So thank you.