Psychiatric Annals

Feature Articles 

Nutritional Aspects of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD; Scott Shannon, MD

Abstract

One challenge faced by physicians in pharmacotherapy of children and adolescents is the management of drug-drug interactions. A second challenge, rarely addressed, is the potential interaction of drugs with nutrients. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found 52% of adults taking a dietary supplement in the previous month. In children with autism spectrum disorders, nutrient supplementation has also been reported to be about 50%. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, of course, are the building blocks of neuronal structure and function, and depending on dose levels, can be expected to influence brain function per se. Additionally, supplements can affect pharmaceutical regimens prescribed for the purposes of influencing the brain, because of the possibilities for interactions. In this article, we review a) some fundamentals of nutrition and brain biochemistry shown to be important in psychiatric disorders, including the potential therapeutic benefit of nutrient supplementation, and b) what is known of drug-nutrient interactions, including nutrient stress introduced by drugs that interfere with metabolism and increase the requirement for specific nutrients.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Scott Shannon, MD, is Medical Director, Northern Colorado Center for Holistic Medicine, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Address correspondence to: Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Behavioral Research Unit, Alberta Children’s Hospital, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary AB T3B 6A8; fax 403-955-2772; e-mail bonnie.kaplan@calgaryhealthregion.ca.

Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Shannon have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the scope of nutrients, especially vitamins and materials, which have been studied in relationship to mood, and some of the findings.
  2. Relate the four different types of interactions between medications and nutrients/foods.
  3. Discuss the recommendations for compensatory supplementation for specific medication regimens.

Abstract

One challenge faced by physicians in pharmacotherapy of children and adolescents is the management of drug-drug interactions. A second challenge, rarely addressed, is the potential interaction of drugs with nutrients. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found 52% of adults taking a dietary supplement in the previous month. In children with autism spectrum disorders, nutrient supplementation has also been reported to be about 50%. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, of course, are the building blocks of neuronal structure and function, and depending on dose levels, can be expected to influence brain function per se. Additionally, supplements can affect pharmaceutical regimens prescribed for the purposes of influencing the brain, because of the possibilities for interactions. In this article, we review a) some fundamentals of nutrition and brain biochemistry shown to be important in psychiatric disorders, including the potential therapeutic benefit of nutrient supplementation, and b) what is known of drug-nutrient interactions, including nutrient stress introduced by drugs that interfere with metabolism and increase the requirement for specific nutrients.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Scott Shannon, MD, is Medical Director, Northern Colorado Center for Holistic Medicine, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Address correspondence to: Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Behavioral Research Unit, Alberta Children’s Hospital, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary AB T3B 6A8; fax 403-955-2772; e-mail bonnie.kaplan@calgaryhealthregion.ca.

Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Shannon have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the scope of nutrients, especially vitamins and materials, which have been studied in relationship to mood, and some of the findings.
  2. Relate the four different types of interactions between medications and nutrients/foods.
  3. Discuss the recommendations for compensatory supplementation for specific medication regimens.

One challenge faced by physicians in pharmacotherapy of children and adolescents is the management of drug-drug interactions. A second challenge, rarely addressed, is the potential interaction of drugs with nutrients. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found 52% of adults taking a dietary supplement in the previous month. In children with autism spectrum disorders, nutrient supplementation has also been reported to be about 50%. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, of course, are the building blocks of neuronal structure and function, and depending on dose levels, can be expected to influence brain function per se. Additionally, supplements can affect pharmaceutical regimens prescribed for the purposes of influencing the brain, because of the possibilities for interactions. In this article, we review a) some fundamentals of nutrition and brain biochemistry shown to be important in psychiatric disorders, including the potential therapeutic benefit of nutrient supplementation, and b) what is known of drug-nutrient interactions, including nutrient stress introduced by drugs that interfere with metabolism and increase the requirement for specific nutrients.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Scott Shannon, MD, is Medical Director, Northern Colorado Center for Holistic Medicine, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Address correspondence to: Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Behavioral Research Unit, Alberta Children’s Hospital, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary AB T3B 6A8; fax 403-955-2772; e-mail bonnie.kaplan@calgaryhealthregion.ca.

Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Shannon have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the scope of nutrients, especially vitamins and materials, which have been studied in relationship to mood, and some of the findings.
  2. Relate the four different types of interactions between medications and nutrients/foods.
  3. Discuss the recommendations for compensatory supplementation for specific medication regimens.

10.3928/00485713-20070701-06

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