Mental Illness, Nutrition and

  • John W. Crayton
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


Long-standing public interest in diet and nutrition as a means to better mental health has been matched in the last 10 years by a rapidly expanding scientific interest in the relationship between food and behavior. There are, however, fundamental research problems in this area: (1) accurately assessing an individual’s nutritional status is difficult; (2) nutritional requirements and response to nutrients vary widely from person to person; (3) the frequently subtle effects of nutrients, or lack thereof, on behavior defy reliable and reproducible measurement with currently available behavioral assessment instruments; (4) brain mechanisms underlying food-behavior phenomena are largely unknown.

Further reading

  1. Growdon JH (1979): Neurotransmitter precursors in the diet: Their use in the treatment of brain diseases. In: Nutrition and the Brain Wurtman R, Wurtman J, ed. 3: 117-181Google Scholar
  2. Pollitt E, Leibel R (1976): Iron deficiency and behavior. Pediatrics 88: 372–381Google Scholar
  3. Stein Z, Susser M., (1976): Maternal starvation and birth defects. In Birth Defects: Risks and Consequences. Hook, Ernest B., (ed) Academic Press, New York pp 205–220Google Scholar
  4. Weiss B (1982): Food additives and environmental chemicals as sources of childhood behavior disorders. J Am Acad Child Psychiat 21: 144–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Winick M, Meyer KK, Harris RC (1975): Malnutrition and environmental enrichment by early adoption. Science 190: 1173–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Crayton

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