Someone shared an article titled “Some Anti-Inflammatory Drugs May Aid Schizophrenia Treatment,” on a facebook page. I thought it was worthy of sharing my opinion and experience on this very important topic.
The article speaks of the emerging research that suggests the value of taking anti-inflammatory drugs to aid in mental health in combination with psychiatric drugs. Now, I am not negating the value of the research as far as inflammatory issues being a very serious problem with those who suffer mental health symptoms. Because, I believe this topic of inflammation and poor immune system is a huge problem in the area of mental health.
Here is a quote from the article; “Experts have known the immune system is linked to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar. Schizophrenia in particular is linked to the HLA gene system, which is found on chromosome six in humans. The HLA system controls many of the characteristics of the immune system. ‘The picture on anti-inflammatory agents in schizophrenia has been mixed, but this analysis pulls together the data from 26 double blind randomized controlled trails, and provides significant evidence that some (but not all) anti-inflammatory agents can improve symptoms of patients with schizophrenia’[Dr. Iris Sommer].”(i)
After reading the article I have a much different thought process than perhaps many who hold onto a modern psychiatric view. My thoughts are this, it appears to be just another opportunity to add even more drugs to these peoples course of therapy? Is this just adding more side affects for them to have to contend with, both short and long term? Where does this craziness end? These folks are already dealing with enough – why not educate them on the importance of a healthy diet and healthier lifestyle choices?
The article also mentions a multicenter trial being conducted using simvastatine to reduce inflammation in the brain of patients with schizophrenia. The goal of studies like this one is to provide the needed proof-of-concept for targeting the immune system in schizophrenia.(i) Yes, you heard it right – so they can make an attempt of targeting the immune system with yet another medication! So let’s take a closer look at what this may look like in the real world. Per drugs.com “simvastatine is typically used to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing “good” HDLs. No doubt there are precautions in taking this drug. It is not recommended for anyone under the age of ten years old and pregnant women are advised not to take simvastatine. If you should overdose, experience an allergic reaction or have one of the “rare” side affects such as a breakdown of skeletal muscle – leading to kidney failure you should seek immediate medical attention. The more common side affects are headaches, constipation, and colds”(ii). Why not research the alternative? The alternative is good, safe, and clean nutrition that has been shown time and time again the value of their great benefits in the restoration and healing of the human body. Good nutrition has the ability to sooth the soul, kindle the spirit and rejuvenate the body.
If you think about it, research such as this makes perfect sense to the pharmaceutical community. In addition, they are correct in saying that inflammation and oxidative stress is a real issue in the brain. There truly is more inflammation accumulation in the brain than in any other organ in the body. Research to uncover root problems is a good thing, but my issue with this type of research is if they know inflammation is a root cause; then why is it they continuously reach for the drug in the medicine cabinet in their attempt to solve the problem? While everything we need to release inflammation is already provided to us naturally. We know that nutrition provides release of inflammation too, so my thoughts are why wasn’t this solution made a part of the trials? This is what makes me angry with this research; there are naturally occurring anti-inflammatory properties in our foods such as fruits and vegetables. But, God forbid if research was actually implemented using a substance that has no side affects and something that actually offers healing to the person. There are also supplements like glutathione [the mother of ALL antioxidants]; the antioxidants our own body makes to fight free radicals in its defense against inflammation and oxidative stress. We can obtain glutathione through nutrients and as well as supplements. The glutathione supplements tend to have issues passing through the digestive system, therefore not effective as the best option. However, there is a glutathione accelerator product that has research support and has been shown to effectively and efficiently pass through the digestive system with optimal results. DRHutch has approved the use of this particular glutathione product as part of our protocol with clients.
Nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E and minerals like zinc and selenium, along with functional foods like grapeseed, blueberries, tomatoes, greens and carrots have the best potential in offering the safest and cleanest antioxidants available to naturally fight off the free radical damage caused by oxidative stress factors. Beta-carotene found in carrots has shown potential to neutralize free radicals. Flavonoids found in berries, and red grapes also strengthen cellular antioxidant defenses and have potential in contributing to maintaining brain function. Flavonones found in citrus fruits and flavonols found in onions, broccoli and tea offer the same results. These are just a few ways to increase antioxidants naturally. There is also the advantage of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet or the Mediterranean Diet. Both, being more of a lifestyle change rather than diet.
The article also spoke of the types of trials that were reviewed in order to determine the effectiveness of these anti-inflammatory drugs, these trials are considered the gold standard in research: Randomized control trials. However, considering a more holistic natural approach the research for the Mediterranean Diet also has significant research backing its validity in reducing inflammation. It’s my opinion that Dr. Roehm provides an excellent job in explaining the Mediterranean diet and its research very well in his video shared on his website. He confirms the research showing the Mediterranean diet to be the healthiest and best studied in the world, also utilizing the gold standard in research; randomized control study. This type of study is different than other types of studies in diet; which are typically observational studies. The observational studies do not prove dietary changes as being the actual cause of the patient’s health status; however this is what sets a randomized control study apart from the typical observational study. The randomized study used in the Mediterranean diet was able to show a significant reduction in death rate and heart attack where as the other types of diets only show differences in the cholesterol, BP, and even imaging studies, therefore the latter does not really prove the actual diet is responsible(iv). I bring these studies up for the information provided in the Mediterranean diet studies to show the overall health benefits of this diets ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. The Mediterranean diet provides sufficient amounts of antioxidants.
“Antioxidants can prevent, inhibit or repair damage caused by oxidative stress. Vitamins A, C and E – of which fruit and vegetables are rich sources – are potent dietary antioxidants that can prevent cytotoxicity resulting from free radicals, act as direct scavengers of reactive oxygen species(ROS) and up-regulate antioxidant enzyme activity. Vitamin C acts by becoming oxidized itself (providing an electron), thereby stopping the chain reaction, and appears to be particularly important for brain defenses as reflected by its high levels in cerebrospinal fluid and brain relative to plasma.”(v)
The pathways which regulate function and structure for adequate brain optimization are able to perform optimally through proper nutrition. However, there are times when we may see tough cases, in these cases the client tends to need a little extra boost to get their immune system back on track. This needed extra boost may provide the body and brain what it needs to aide in the support of the immune system at a much greater rate. Many alternative health practitioners offer IV treatment protocols. The Meyers Cocktail which is a blend of B-complex, vitamin C and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. This regimen has been used successfully by practitioners who treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar. One article found on the safe harbor website gives us an example of how the Meyers Cocktail can greatly benefit those who struggle with the symptoms of schizophrenia(vi).
My stance on the nutritional aspect of supporting the immune system in our efforts to heal the brain and release those who struggle with such incredibly debilitating symptoms; is that God has provided us everything we need to restore and heal our bodies. Therefore, the antioxidants provided through adequate nutrition and supplementation, when needed is just as powerful if not more powerful as the chemically based drugs with all of their side effects found in the pharmaceutical medicine cabinet.To conclude; the alternative natural foods are definitely safer.
i. Some Anti-Inflammatory Drugs May Aid Schizophrenia Treatment. http://psychcentral.com/news/2014
/10/21/some-anti-inflammatory-drugs-may-aid-schizophrenia-treatment/76421.html Published October
1,2014. Accessed March 5, 2015.
ii. http://www.drugs.com/sfx/simvastatin-side-effects.html Accessed March 6, 2015.
iii. http://www.lpi.edu Accessed March 5, 2015.
iv. Roehm, E. Mediterranean Diet . 2011. Mediterranean Diet Video-How to Eat Mediterranean
Diet & Why. http://www.nutritionheart.com/video-mediterranean-diet/ Accessed March 6, 2015.
v Parletta N, Milte CM, Meyer BJ. Nutritional modulaiton of cognitive function and mental health.
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.2013; 24(5):725-743.
vi. http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/cocktail.htm Accessed March 5, 2015.