Nutrition and Psychosis

It is well known that nutrition is important, and that a great many people today – of all ages – are not receiving adequate nutrition.  It’s a huge subject, and is covered on lots of websites.

A few days ago (June 7), there was an article on Mad in America called Can Psychosis be Treated with Nutrition?  It was written by Bonnie Kaplan, PhD and Julia Rucklidge, PhD.

The article is about a boy, whom the authors call Andrew (not his real name).  He had some early developmental problems, and by age 10 was displaying hallucinatory and delusional behavior.  He spent six months in a mental hospital, and was prescribed a wide range of psychoactive drugs, including neuroleptics.  His overall level of functioning on discharge was about the same as it was on admission.

After discharge, at his parents’ request, Andrew’s psychiatrist tapered his pharmaceutical drugs to zero, and started him on a “broad spectrum nutrient formula.”  The results were spectacular.  All his “symptoms” had remitted in a few months, and the gains have been maintained.

The authors suggest that this kind of nutrient treatment “should be considered for virtually all first-episode psychosis.”


You’ll find a story here of a man “with schizophrenia” who also transitioned from “anti-psychotic medication” to the same nutrient formula as Andrew used.  (It’s marketed as EMPowerplus).  This young man, Jordan Ramsey, shortly afterwards killed his father and gravely injured his mother.

John Grohol, PhD, has written an article on this topic on PsychCentral.

Here’s his conclusion:

“I will end with this — I have respect for both Mr. Hardy and Mr. Stephan [the providers of EMPowerplus] for trying to help people in need with something they believe works to help alleviate mental illness. It’s my opinion that their intentions are apparently good and well-grounded, but their follow-through with adequate research and the over-hyping of their product leaves much to be desired.”

Vitamins and micronutrients in proper quantities probably won’t do much harm.  But they can be over-hyped.  Dr. Grohol states that “…after more than a decade on the market, the manufacturers of this product haven’t done a single placebo-controlled trial.”

In my view, a double-blind randomized controlled trial is overdue for a product for which such strong claims are being made.