Emerging evidence from the field of nutritional psychiatry research supports the importance of diet and nutrition for mental health. However, much of the previous evidence arising from nutraceutical research (i.e. the use of nutritional supplementation in mental disorders) is limited by a lack of data and poor methodological quality.
Therefore, while the use of nutraceuticals represents an potentially useful and important approach to mental disorder treatment, high-quality, rigorous clinical trials are still required to understand what supplements are useful, to whom, and under what circumstances. An expansion and improvement of the existing evidence base is a key and outstanding imperative for this new field. This proposed research program will evaluate which nutraceutical interventions are efficacious for varying mental health conditions, as well as related conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, using gold-standard research methodologies. The program will also systematically investigate the mechanisms and baseline factors that predict treatment response. If funding is gained, Wolfgang Marx will be leading this program of research.
Mangosteen pericarp: A fruit extract that may help people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
There are two world-first trials currently being conducted from the IMPACT SRC investigating the potential benefits of mangosteen pericarp as an add-on therapy for psychiatric disorders. Mangosteen pericarp extract is taken from the rind of the mangosteen fruit. We believe the rind has biological mechanisms that might be useful in treating symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Both trials include 6 months of either mangosteen pericarp or placebo treatment, in addition to any usual treatment.
The schizophrenia trial is being led by Professor Michael Berk (Deakin University) in collaboration with Professor John McGrath (University of Queensland). Similarly, the bipolar trial, led by Doctor Olivia Dean (Deakin University) is being conducted in Melbourne, Victoria in collaboration with The Melbourne Clinic (Professor Chee Ng) and the Albert Road Clinic (Professor Malcolm Hopwood) both with support from the University of Melbourne. The schizophrenia trial is being funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute (US) and the bipolar trial is currently supported by an Australasian Society for Bipolar and Depressive Disorders/Servier grant. The latter is providing stipend support for a promising PhD Candidate. Further funding is required to provide ongoing stipend support for the candidate as well as general trial costs. We are also looking to secure future funding for the analysis of biological endpoints (from blood samples) in both trials.