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Two million Americans suffer from schizophrenia, a progressive mental illness that is characterized by disabling symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. Unfortunately, the antipsychotic medications that are often given to address these problems come with their own set of risks. Now, scientists have discovered that certain nutrients could help to fight the illness safely, potentially paving the way for more effective treatments without side effects.

Researchers from the University of Manchester looked at data taken from eight different clinical studies examining nutrient supplementation in hundreds of young people during the onset of psychotic illness. They found that supplements like the amino acid taurine and vitamin C could help alleviate the condition if taken early. They believe it works because it can address the oxidative stress that occurs when the body is unable to process oxygen normally.
Shellfish like clams, shrimp and scallops are excellent sources of taurine, with raw shrimp containing nearly 50 milligrams per ounce of taurine. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is destroyed in cooking. Other fish that offer taurine include tuna, sardines, and salmon. Taurine can also be found in foods like Brussels sprout, seaweed and beef. A clinical trial in Melbourne involving 121 people with psychosis revealed that 4 grams of taurine a day could reduce psychotic symptoms in just 12 weeks. Past studies have shown that it can protect organs from injury or oxidative stress, and it can be particularly beneficial to heart health.

Vitamin C, which has also been shown to reduce symptoms, can be found in a wide variety of foods. Some of the best sources include red pepper, kiwi, guava, oranges, strawberries, pineapple and papaya.

Alternative treatments showing increasing promise in fighting schizophrenia

Past studies, meanwhile, have shown that folate and vitamin B12 can both help alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia in some patients. Folate, which can be found in folic acid supplements, plays a vital role in the DNA methylation that regulates gene expression; B12 increases its effects. This particular finding built on earlier studies linking a folate deficiency during pregnancy with a higher risk of schizophrenia among offspring and other research linking low blood folate levels with more severe negative symptoms in schizophrenic patients.

Another recent study found that holistic therapy that includes one-on-one talk therapy and intense family support yielded better results than the drug regimen typically prescribed for the illness.

These latest findings from the University of Manchester are not quite conclusive, but they do point to some areas that are worthy of further investigation. Next, the team would like to combine these beneficial nutrients into one supplement and see if it has any effect on young people who are suffering from psychosis. A study is expected to be underway this year investigating this approach.

My own take on this is to study specifically what a person may be lacking by doing a vitamin, mineral, amino acid panel. I am certain that the results would be even more profound. I have seen it in my own clients. Next week I hope you will join me for a discussion on the importance and care and feeding of your kidneys. Sign UP Here! I have highlighted some of my products here but PLEASE visit our store for FREE shipping and great prices on hundreds of natural products.

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Taryn DeCicco, ND, LAc, LDN
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Author's Bio: 

Dr Taryn DeCicco ND, LAc, LDN of Apple A Day Clinic in Arlington Heights, IL has been practicing Naturopathy and Acupuncture, specializing in acne, skin, and digestive disorders for over 16 years.