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[Neuroscience] Re: Peanuts for concentration?

John H. j_hasenkam at yahoo.com.au
Thu Apr 27 20:16:56 EST 2006


Tony wrote:
> I have a sibling who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is on meds,
> however his mental concentration has recently improved *a lot* by eating
> plenty of peanuts (4 small packs a day). Is there any neurological illness
> that might be co-incident with his schizophrenia that would respond in this
> way? He initially got very good concentration with just one pack per day
> but the effect wore off after a month, he increased his intake and has
> good concentration again. His meds haven't changed throughout. Thanks, Tony

Not sure about peanuts but some nuts contains the two essential fatty
acids we require: alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid. There is a
growing body of research indicating that fatty acids play critical
roles in the brain and there have  been numerous trials of
supplementation with the "downstream products" of the above 2 fatty
acids; EPA and DHA (fish oil basically) which have proven beneficial in
a wide range of psychiatric conditions. In Australia there is a
currently a  trial going on for ADHD treatment with EPA and  DHA and
early results are promising.

For many this will seem paradoxical and there is some involved
neurobiology behind which I won't go into.  However I recall one study
which showed that in the rat administration of fish oils increased
dopamine turnover in the frontal regions by some 40%, a remarkable
result and probably a key piece of research that stimulated the above
trial as dopamine tone plays an essential role in attentional
processes.

You might want to track the text: The  Omega  3 Connection by Andrew
Stoll,former  Director of Neuropsychopharmachology unit at the Harvard
Medical School. This mainly deals with the issue of depression but will
give you a good introduction. There have been trials of omega 3's for
schizophrenia and the  the emerging view is that these and GLA can
serve as useful adjunct treatments. For a more technical view you need
to read the works of David Horribin, who basically pioneered this
perspective but you'll probably find his work all too baffling.Sadly,
the psychiatric community in general has largely ignored the work of
Horrobin and Andrew  Stoll has since given up his research in this
area, probably because of a lack of professional interest.

Another, and more wacky but nonetheless possibly fruitful area is the
work of Hoffer and Carl Pfeiffer, who advocated orthomolecular therapy.
The results are controversial, you're on your own but in my opinion
worth looking at.

Whatever you do, it is important that his doctor is aware of what is
going on because otherwise the meds could cause bad side  effects and
reduction in dosaging may be required if the omega's do start having an
effect. It won't happen quickly though, you'll need to wait for 3
months at least and at best you'll see a moderating influence, not a
cure. 

John.



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