Schizophrenia: Eat The Right Food to Manage The Condition Well

Hallucination, absence of facial expressions, and delusion. These are a few symptoms that characterize schizophrenia. In 2018, over 21 million people were affected by this mental disorder, says WHO. Associated with physical disabilities and bad occupational performance, schizophrenia is a psychosis. This mental illness is believed to be caused by a combination of various factors including genetics, brain chemistry, and the environment. If not managed or interrupted on time, schizophrenia can result in severe complications that can affect a person’s life significantly. Some of these complications include depression, self-injury, anxiety disorder, and even suicide. Though there is no sure way to prevent the condition, you can at least prevent its relapses or worsening of symptoms with the help of some dietary changes. Yes, you read it right. Certain dietary changes along with prescribed medicines can help in making the lives of patients suffering from schizophrenia better. Read further to know about that food.

Say no to gluten

A type of protein found in rye, wheat, barley, etc., gluten is known to be difficult to digest. Its by-products are associated with inappropriate brain function. They can cause psychological symptoms like brain fog, hallucination, etc. by interfering with the communication between neurotransmitters in the brain. Additionally, having gluten almost on a regular basis can make anyone addicted to it. This addiction will lead to an uncontrolled craving and the patient will end up eating more and more gluten-containing food. This can further aggravate the condition, says a study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

Opt for omega-3 fatty acids

Schizophrenia patients are usually found to be deficient of omega-3 fatty acid, that is present in food like flaxseeds, nuts, fish, etc. Notably, this fatty acid is capable of improving a person’s nervous and immune function. It can do so due to the presence of a compound called EPA.

Add niacin-rich food in the daily diet

A type of vitamin B3, niacin can improve the condition of schizophrenia patients, says a research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Also, its deficiency can do the opposite. Some of the food sources of this essential nutrient include green veggies, eggs, fish, and poultry.

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5 High Risk Factors For Schizophrenia

A study recently published in the journal Nature Neuroscience has said that there could be 104 high-risk genes for schizophrenia which could help in better understanding what could predispose you to schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness whose symptoms are often detected late which leads to delayed treatment and worsening of the symptoms. In schizophrenia, a person experiences disorganized thinking, delusions and hallucinations. Schizophrenic symptoms are first usually seen from age 16 to 30 years. Genetic predisposition is a major risk factor for schizophrenia which is why this research can prove extremely useful in the treatment and intervention measures for schizophrenia. If the parents or biological relatives have schizophrenia or related mental conditions your chances of suffering from schizophrenia also significantly increase. There are some other risk factors for schizophrenia too:

Increased levels of ‘Junk DNA’: A team of researchers from Japan found that a class of retrotransposons named Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (LINE-1) also called junk DNA, may have something to do in the development of schizophrenia. Their study showed that exposure to environmental risk factors and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia can lead to increased levels of LINE-1 in neurons, which is often observed in patients who are schizophrenic.

No sleep for 24 hours: Going without sleep for 24 hours can lead to symptoms that are observed in schizophrenic patients according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.  The researchers said that sleep deprivation can lead to concentration impairment.

Smoking: Scientists have discovered that schizophrenia and tobacco smoking is linked. Smoking can cause significant cognitive impairment which can up your risk of schizophrenia and also worsens your symptoms if you are already suffering from it.

Prenatal infection: Infections like toxoplasmosis or influenza during pregnancy along with psychological stress and family history can all turn out to be major risk factors. these infections can affect immune cells of the central nervous system in the foetal brain that can damage brain development of the child.

Alcohol and drugs: A research found that alcohol, cannabis and other substance abuse can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. Substance abuse increased the risk of schizophrenia by 6 times, cannabis increased the risk by 5.2 times, alcohol by 3.4 times, hallucinogenic drugs by 1.9 times, sedatives by 1.7 times, amphetamines by 1.24 times and other substances by 2.8 times. In women who indulged in alcohol abuse before the birth of their child, the risk increases by 5.6 times in their child.


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Schizophrenia And Other Health Risks Associated With Advanced Paternal Age

Late fatherhood increases the risk of early-onset schizophrenia in their offspring, says a new study. The study in Biological Psychiatry says that this early-onset schizophrenia (schizophrenia occurring before 18 years of age) is a severe form of the disorder and is accompanied by more genetic abnormalities. Wei J Chen, MD, from the National Taiwan University in Taipei explained the observation was made after calculating the polygenic risk score based on genetic variations of both parents, which helps predict the risk of developing the disorder. It simply means that men who choose to have their children late can increase the risk of schizophrenia in their offspring. Interestingly, it was only advanced paternal (not maternal) age that was associated with this risk. It is not just early -onset schizophrenia that to-be parents need to beware of. There are many health risks associated with late parenthood. Here are some of them:

Premature, low birth weight babies: Men who have children until their late forties could have less healthy infants at birth. The Stanford University study observed that as the age of the father increased, the risk of the infant being born prematurely, having a low birth weight and requiring healthcare support after delivery, such as assisted ventilation, admission to neonatal intensive care, or antibiotics, also rose high. The study also said that children of fathers aged 45 years or more had a 14 per cent higher risk of being premature in addition to low birth weight, 14 per cent higher risk of being admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit and 18 per cent greater risk of having seizures, compared to infants with fathers aged 25 to 34 years. Not just this, even the risk of gestational diabetes was high if a woman carried the child of a man aged 55 years or older.

Autism: A Dutch study published in the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health said that late parenthood increased the chances of autism, a brain developmental disorder, in children. ‘Very old’ fathers had more effect on the offsprings.

Heart defects: Older motherhood comes with its own share of problems. A study noted that children who born to mothers who are older than 35 years are more likely to have heart problems in later life. Late pregnancy can also increase the risk of damaging the fertility of their daughters. According to a report in The Guardian, woman’s eggs tend to undergo damage as her age increases. This directly impacts their daughters and the quality of their own eggs.

With inputs from IANS

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