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Diet

How is diet related to schizophrenia?
People with mental disorders may be at increased risk of nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet. Poor diet is a major and modifiable cause of comorbid conditions, including metabolic syndrome and obesity. During pregnancy, it also contributes to the risk of developmental problems in the foetus.

What is the evidence regarding diet ?
Moderate to low quality evidence finds poor dietary patterns in people with schizophrenia, including decreased fibre and fruit intake, and increased saturated fat intake compared to people without a mental disorder. People with schizophrenia may have high LDL and low HDL blood levels, and increased fasting glucose.

Moderate to high quality evidence shows lower vitamin D levels compared to people without a mental disorder (large effect), and compared to people with other psychoses (small effect), with similar vitamin D levels compared to people with major depression.

Moderate quality evidence finds decreased folate levels, particularly in Caucasian and Asian people with schizophrenia, and in people with schizophrenia aged under 50 years. High quality evidence finds no differences in vitamin B12 levels in people with schizophrenia.

Moderate quality evidence shows people with first-episode psychosis also have a large effect of lower vitamin D levels, and a medium-sized effect of lower folate levels than people without a mental disorder. Moderate to low quality evidence also finds lower levels of vitamin C in people with first-episode psychosis, with no differences in B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, or any dietary mineral.

Also see the treatments for weight gain topics (pharmaceutical and psychosocial), and the pharmaceutical side effects topic.

February 2019

Page last updated: 6:20  7 February 2019

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