Did you know that early treatment of schizophrenia has its merits from a conventional and nutritional treatment perspective … If you hear voices or have delusional thoughts and you live in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton or Niagara, you ought to consider advanced clinical nutrition for schizophrenia.

Here is a snapshot of three basic nutritional and biochemical deficits in schizophrenia.  For a more details on the nutrient and biochemical issues common to schizophrenia please refer to my two part review on schizophrenia. 

Basic Nutritional Compromises in Schizophrenia

Biochemical issues that keep coming up in cases with psychosis or schizophrenia include niacin dependency, heavy metal excess and low thyroid metabolism.  Other nutrient or biochemical issues that may be imbalanced in mental health conditions including schizophrenia include under-methylation (B12 deficiency), protein deficiency and catabolism, iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, and more.

Niacin Dependency in Schizophrenia

Niacin (vitamin B3) treatment in schizophrenia has been in longstanding use over the past 60 years.  The premise of niacin depletion came to the fore in the early fifties by Dr. Abram Hoffer, an early research psychiatrist.  He theorized a mechanism where the body could produce hallucinogens.  He considered that brain neurotransmitters (nerve cell communication molecules) could degrade into forms that were structurally similar to hallucinogens such as LSD-25 or mescaline.  Dr. Hoffer considered niacin to be a metabolite that could curb the formation of these hallucinogens.  He put niacin treatment to the test in six double-blind trials and his conclusion was that a profound response could be achieved.  In my clinical experience, I consider that a significant portion of cases can respond profoundly, while another portion responds reasonably well, and yet another portion does not respond at all (less than 20% of cases).  Good responder cases are great to see clinically and they tend to maintain an improved status.

Heavy Metal Excess in Schizophrenia

Heavy metals are commonly found in schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.  Heavy metals can destroy brain tissue and leave brain cells compromised at a structural and functional level.

Copper and mercury excess are associated with hallucination formation.  Copper excess however, is chief among the heavy metal excesses seen in schizophrenia.  Here we see an overstimulation of the dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine pathway.  In theory, if such neurotransmitters were released in greater concentrations during periods of stress (e.g. during teenage years or during your early 20’s; the most common onset period for schizophrenia) and they degraded into hallucinogens, this could cause psychotic symptoms.

Low Thyroid Metabolism in Schizophrenia

Low thyroid metabolism is very common in schizophrenia and one reason for this may be that the endogenous hallucinogen (explained above) may have an affinity for thyroid gland tissue and compromise its function.  Low thyroid symptoms are numerous because adequate thyroid hormone is necessary for all cells to produce a ready supply of proteins and the vast majority of brain neurotransmitters are proteins.  Low thyroid symptoms include brain fog, constipation, fatigue, cold extremities, and more.


The BodyMindLink series by Dr Ray Pataracchia ND provides insight on Naturopathic approaches that matter and have the potential to benefit general and mental health.   Clinical approaches discussed are implemented by the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic (NMRC) in Toronto, Ontario.  Our clinic treats a wide array of health conditions.

Disclaimer: Information provided is not to be used for self-assessment, diagnosis or treatment.  We advise readers to discuss these topics with their health care provider or book an appointment with our Toronto clinic.