Orthomolecular Treatment of Schizophrenia: A Review (Part One)

By Raymond J. Pataracchia, B.Sc., N.D.

From Alternative Mental Health

Notes by Jurriaan Plesman BA(Psych), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr


Anorexia, Anxiety, Catecholamines and here, Dopamines and here,  Eicosapentaenoic acid, Dysglycemia,  Excess Copper,   Essential Fatty Acid (EFA), Folic acid,  Food intolerances, Gluten intolerance,  Hallucinations and here, Homocysteine, inositol hexaniacinate, Hypoglycemic mental symptoms, Insulin resistance, Memory Loss,  Methylation problems, Neurotransmitters overstimulation,  Pellagra, Psychosis, References  Tardive dyskinesia,  Various symptoms, Vitamin B3,  Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and here, Vitamin E  

  1. The Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) are deficient among schizophrenics. Eicosapentaenoic acid...The Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) Deficient Schizophrenic. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega 3 fat that is slightly more unsaturated than omega-6 fats. Deficient Schizophrenic. Eicosapentaenoic acid...The Essential Fatty Acid (EFA...The Schizophrenic with Inadequate Nutriture. Many schizophrenics do not eat three meals a day and their diet is invariably carbohydrate dominant. Inadequate nutriture can also occur with gastrointestinal compromise, malabsorption, and low thyroid function.
  2. The Dysglycemia Schizophrenic. Schizophrenics with hyperglycemia, much like diabetics,...The Dysglycemia Schizophrenic. Schizophrenics with hyperglycemia, much like diabetics, present with hypoglycemic mental symptoms because the glucose doesn’t get into the brain neurons.
  1. The Food Intolerant Schizophrenic. Schizophrenics, just like the general population...The Food Intolerant Schizophrenic. Schizophrenics, just like the general population, have the potential to exhibit mild or severe food intolerance symptoms.21  In schizophrenia, gluten, dairy, and eggs are commonly not tolerated.22,23,2
  1. We see schizophrenics that experience a wide range of food related physical symptoms such as headaches, skin eruptions, palpitations, weakness, painful digestion, constipation, diarrhea, and arthralgia.I constantly see gastrointestinal problems in schizophrenia including constipation, spastic obstipation, bloating, cramping, abdominal discomfort, IBS, and GERD. Compromised gastrointestinal function leads to malabsorption of nutrients. These patients often require higher doses of nutrients and medications. Lack of stomach acid can reduce intrinsic factor and diminish B12 utilization essential for methylation and neurotransmitter formation.
  2. Methylation. Schizophrenic researchers are well aware that certain brain tracts are overstimulated while others are under stimulated (hypofrontality). If we can  methylate efficiently, we have the machinery to form neurotransmitters in areas of the brain that are under stimulated and neurotransmitter deficient. In our clinic, we see a good portion of schizophrenics with methylation compromise as indicated by elevated fasting homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine levels and methylation compromise are common in schizophrenia.33-41 Elevated homocysteine levels have also been correlated with an increased severity of extrapyramidal symptoms (such as Tardive dyskinesia).42
  1. Nutritional treatment with B12, folic acid, and other methylators can restore methylation status. In schizophrenia, investigators have found methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genetic polymorphisms that disrupt folic acid pathways.43,44
  1. The Vitamin B3 and C are deficient Schizophrenics.
  1. A catecholamine rich cerebral environment is prone to oxidization and oxidized metabolites are neurotoxic and hallucinogenic to humans.50-53  Schizophrenics are poor at filtering the influx of sensory information and this causes perceptual dysfunction (hallucinations, illusions). Overstimulated brain pathways have excess neurotransmitter and symptoms are, in part, caused by neurotransmitter overstimulation of the prefrontal cortex. Many neurotransmitter pathways are involved; some overstimulated, others under stimulated. In a schizophrenic brain, vitamin B3 and C (ascorbate) together have the potential to intervene and limit the production and oxidation of excess catecholamines in the brain. Vitamin B3 is one of the few methyl acceptors in the body. As a methyl acceptor, B3 can limit, in a regulated fashion, neurotransmitter production.48  A catecholamine rich cerebral environment is prone to oxidization and oxidized metabolites are neurotoxic and hallucinogenic to humans.50-53 vitamin B3 and C have the potential to reduce oxidized catecholamine intermediates.55 In the adrenal gland, vitamin C is found in high concentrations to keep oxidation at bay.49
  1. Excess copper is very common in schizophrenia and copper is a cofactor in dopamine production. When dopamine pathways are overstimulated, serotonin (the opposing ‘feel good’ master neurotransmitter system) can become down regulated. B3 and C are physiologically antagonistic to copper. 
  1. Sufficient doses of B3 for schizophrenia are also in the gram range. Niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate are flush-free. The inositol hexaniacinate form of B3 is well tolerated and has a great safety profile in the 4 gram daily range.
  1. The B3 deficient state is typified in the disease pellagra, the rarely seen vitamin B3-dependant disease state. Classic symptoms of pellagra include psychosis, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, confusion, memory loss, anorexia, and fatigue.61,62 Schizophrenics respond well to B3.
  1. Vitamin C, on its own, is a potent antioxidant that works synergistically with vitamin E and glutathione. Vitamin C’s role in converting dopamine to noradrenaline in the brain can further vent the biochemistry away from catecholamine oxidation.64 Due to greater metabolic demand, schizophrenics require much higher (10x) levels of vitamin C than the general population.65,66
  1. References