top of page


  • Writer's pictureKaren

Nutrient Supplements For Mental Health Disorders

There are a few reasons to suspect that nutritional supplements could play a role in improving mental health. The first is that mental illnesses and poor nutrition are associated[1] with each other, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies in theory. And certain deficiencies have in fact been observed. For instance, zinc and folate deficiency is relatively common in people with depression[2] and schizophrenia[2]. Ditto for folate[3][4] and vitamin D[5][6]. Also, inflammation and oxidative stress have also been shown to play a role in some mental illnesses[7][8][9], and some nutritional supplements like omega-3 fatty acids[10] and N-acetylcysteine[11] could influence these processes, which could in turn help impact psychiatric conditions.

But just because nutritional supplements could help doesn’t mean they do. Fortunately, there’s been quite a bit of research looking into how supplements can affect mental health. But, due to just how much research is out there, it can be hard to figure out what the evidence supports and what it doesn’t. Fortunately, umbrella reviews can help with this.

We’ve covered several umbrella reviews in the past, but as a refresher: an umbrella review is a review of reviews. It takes a look at all reviews and (usually) meta-analyses around a given topic, and summarizes the state of the evidence.

Recently, a large umbrella review[12] took a look at the evidence for nutritional supplements’ impact on various mental illnesses. The fifteen authors s