“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Hippocrates
Luvita is changing the face of mental health with our revolutionary, whole-person approach to wellness. We do this by getting to know each client as an individual, not just a set of symptoms. In other words, we adopt an Integrative Psychiatry model that looks at body, mind, and lifestyle. Diet is crucial to this.
Nutritional Psychiatry is the practice of treating, healing, and preventing mental health disorders through improvements to diet. Rather than focusing on the symptoms of conditions like depression, Nutritional Psychiatry aims to get to its root causes, which can be linked to food choices. This is because nutrition can actually have an impact on the structure of your brain, as well as how it functions. In fact, Nutritional Psychiatrists believe that diet is a major factor in mental health.
For instance, an excess of sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates—as well as a lack of certain vitamins and nutrients—can cause a range of conditions. These might include nutrient deficiencies, gut microbiome issues, inflammation, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress. In turn, mounting evidence is showing that these issues can negatively affect brain health and mental stability.
In essence, your brain needs a balanced diet of foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to thrive. But more than this, the wrong foods can actually harm your brain—for instance, by causing inflammation, disrupting the balance of insulin in your body, or even causing damage at the tissue level. This in turn can have an impact on your mental health, mood stability, and even how your brain ages.
As a result, conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and psychosis can all develop. What’s more, studies indicate that age-related issues such as dementia can also be affected by diet choices.
For this reason, our PMHNP Sarah Stockham Johnson, who is certified in both Metabolic and Nutritional Psychiatry, will run a number of tests on a client, focusing on their brain, genetics, and gut microbiome. This can help them to get to the root cause of particular conditions—for instance, vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and schizophrenia.
Overall, Nutritional Psychiatry is focused on each person’s individual biology, genetics, and wellness needs. The goal is to create a tailored food and lifestyle plan that works for them.
If you believe you or another individual is suffering a mental health crisis emergency, seek medical attention immediately — call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.
If you are in need of support, but not in crisis, consider reaching out to a warmline. Warmlines offer a place to call when you just need to talk to someone. Speaking to someone on these calls is typically free, confidential, and run by people who understand what it’s like to struggle with mental health problems.
Find a warmline at mhanational.org/warmlines.