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In a recent virtual masterclass, Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D., co-author of the book The Better Brain spoke about the impact of nutrition on mental health and resilience.
As part of the curriculum, Dr. Kaplan explained that she typically categorizes food in two ways: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates: what we usually see illustrated in the food pyramid. While macronutrients are important, Dr. Kaplan focuses on micronutrients: vitamins and minerals. She calls these “cofactors,” as they are, according to prevailing research, some of the most important players when it comes to physical and mental health. Micronutrients, such as iron, manganese, and potassium, are essential for vital chemical processes in our brains and bodies. These processes produce and release important neurotransmitters, hormones, and enzymes, such as serotonin and dopamine.
According to Dr. Kaplan, “You have to be bathing your brain in micronutrients at all times—every day, all day, all night—to feed these pathways.” She explains that the processed foods we often consume as a part of the Western culture do not contain even a reasonable percentage of the micronutrients required for optimal health.
To prove her point, Dr. Kaplan refers to a study done in 1950. In this study of 36 men, when 50% of nutrient and caloric intake was reduced, there were statistically significant increases in depression, hysteria, irritability, self-mutilation, and more. Dr. Kaplan speaks not only about the significance of this study but also the disappointment that this knowledge is not commonly known.
More recent research shows diet and nutrition intake are not only a factor for but also a predictor of mental health. In a study done by Loewe et al. in 2019 , they found that diet can predict psychiatric conditions. In a group of 3,436 children ages 10 to 11 years old, they measured nine health recommendations, six of which were nutrition-related. They found a 39% reduction of physician visits for mental health disorders when children met four to six of the nutritional recommendations and a 56% reduction of physician visits for mental health disorders when seven to nine of the nutritional recommendations were met. The study also found that for every additional nutritional recommendation met, there was a 15% decrease in physician visits for mental disorders.
In yet another study published in 2013, diet was studied as a risk for suicide. Over 90,000 adults were studied ranging in ages from 40 to 69 years old. Researchers surveyed the individuals for over 10 years analyzing factors including medical history, dietary habits, and drinking habits in relation to cause of death. The researchers found more than a 50% reduction in risk of suicide in individuals who ate whole food or Mediterranean diet. This study was a prospective study that allowed the researchers to determine causation, not just correlation.
Another series of studies found that a whole food or Mediterranean diet can be used as treatment for depression. One study published in 2017 found that dietary counseling was linked with a 32% remission rate for those struggling with depression.
Dr. Kaplan uses this research to strongly recommend nutrition as a primary treatment for psychiatric conditions as well as healthy brain function for everyone. Though nutrition is a vital factor in optimal brain health, Dr. Kaplan also recommends the use of broad-spectrum micronutrients in the form of supplements, such as Hardy Nutritionals’ Daily Essential Nutrients, which she has studied in her lab for decades.
Dr. Kaplan explains that every brain is different and needs different amounts of certain nutrients. As there is no test to tell each individual person how many different micronutrients they need, she cites broad-spectrum micronutrient supplements such as Daily Essential Nutrients as a sound solution, covering all the bases and allowing the body to dispel what it doesn’t need.
There are over 60 solid independent studies, including randomized control trials, that support the use of broad-spectrum micronutrients for the treatment of various psychiatric conditions. Some of these studies have shown improvement in Autism Spectrum Disorder, aggression, ADHD, mood, stress, PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and more.
Some of her own research and research done by her co-author Dr. Julia Rucklidge, Ph.D. has shown a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms and stress when treated with broad-spectrum micronutrients after only four to six weeks. Their research has looked specifically at micronutrients as a treatment after natural disasters including floods and earthquakes.
Research clearly shows that a combination of a healthy diet and broad-spectrum multinutrients are effective treatments for a variety of psychiatric conditions. As more research continues to be published, Dr. Kaplan hopes to see widespread acceptance and implementation of broad-spectrum micronutrients as a first-line treatment for psychiatric conditions.
To view the full video of this lecture, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mniQcJ61uS4&ab_channel=Nutrition%26MentalHealth
There are currently over 40 independent medical journal publications backing the safety and efficacy of Hardy’s clinical strength micronutrients for mental health, Daily Essential Nutrients. Drs. Kaplan and Rucklidge have personally studied the safety and effectiveness of Daily Essential Nutrients in studies at their university labs. It is a widely recommended clinical-strength multinutrient supplement formulated by Hardy Nutritionals, the leader in mental health nutrition. Daily Essential Nutrients is currently the world’s most research-backed multinutrient supplement for mood and mental health.
To see a list of independent studies on Daily Essential Nutrients, visit HardyNutritionals.com/studies.
 Loewen et al. Pediatrics, 2019
 Nanri et al., British Journal of Psychiatry, 2013
 Jacka et al., BMC Medca, 2017