Nutritional Pyschiatry

Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging area of research focused on the evidence base surrounding food and its impact on mental wellbeing, with specific consideration of role of the gut-brain axis. In 2015, Sarris et al. (2015) published a landmark paper in the Lancet advocating for nutrition to be mainstream in psychiatry. Sarris (2019) also highlighted the important correlation between maternal and early life nutrition and mental health outcomes in later life. These findings have informed the ethos of the Food for the Brain charity in terms of our approach to nutritional psychiatry, and we have devised a lifestages frame work. This frame work looks from preconception and infancy to old age, considering evidence based nutrition and lifestyle interventions, which can be introduced from the beginning to build resilience and support brain health and mental wellbeing across the lifespan.

Presently, there is growing research to support the importance of nutrition for an array of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD, OCD and personality disorders, such as BPD.

“Accumulating data suggests that…diet and nutrition are not only critical for human physiology and body composition, but also have significant effects on mood and mental wellbeing…”

Adan et al., 2019


Adan, R., van der Beek, E. M., Buitelaar, J. K., Cryan, J. F., Hebebrand, J., Higgs, S., Schellekens, H., & Dickson, S. L. (2019). Nutritional psychiatry: Towards improving mental health by what you eat. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology29(12), 1321–1332.

Grosso G. (2021). Nutritional Psychiatry: How Diet Affects Brain through Gut Microbiota. Nutrients13(4), 1282.

Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. P., Jacka, F. N., & International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. The lancet. Psychiatry2(3), 271–274.

Sarris J. (2019). Nutritional Psychiatry: From Concept to the Clinic. Drugs79(9), 929–934.