Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Herbal, Nutritional Therapies Can Play Supportive Role in Practice

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Herbal, Nutritional Therapies Can Play Supportive Role in Practice

Article excerpt

TUCSON, ARIZ. -- Complementary herbal and nutritional therapies can play an important role in an integrated psychiatric practice, Dr. Iris R. Bell said at a psychopharmacology conference sponsored by the University of Arizona.

Disputes remain about the lack of randomized trials supporting the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). But evidence continues to mount about the benefits of CAM therapy that is individualized to a patient's specific needs and preferences.

The use of broad-based nutritional supplements has been reported to ameliorate psychiatric symptoms such as mood swings, depression, and aggression in a variety of patients, including young criminal offenders. The mechanisms by which these changes occur are not established. But the supplements may provide the nutritional support needed to improve brain chemistry and promote better use of traditional medications, said Dr. Bell, a professor at the university and director of research for its integrative medicine program.

Activated forms of pyridoxine, niacin, iron, and tetrahydrobiopterin are cofactors for the enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase and tryptophan 5-hydroxylase, which participate in brain biosynthesis of catecholamines and serotonin. It has been shown that patients with the melancholic form of depression have low levels of folate and respond poorly to fluoxetine, in part because they don't have adequate neurotransmitters to use it, she said.

Studies of high-dose antioxidant supplements by themselves, such as vitamin E alone in Parkinson's disease, may have failed because the vitamin needs other components of its biochemical network, such as vitamin C and other nutrients, to regenerate antioxidant forms from prooxidant forms of the vitamin, Dr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.