On October 12th Culinary Medicine UK and Westminster Kingsway opened their doors to welcome a group of delegates for a day’s training on Nutritional Psychiatry. Led by Professor Felice Jacka, Dr Tetyana Rocks and Megan Pilon of the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University, Australia, this day was a fantastic insight into the research to date in the field of nutritional psychiatry, as well as indicating the areas of current and future investigation. The day was presented wonderfully by Dr Sumi Baruah and chef Vince Kelly from Culinary Medicine UK, and the theoretical elements supported by practical cookery demonstrations and opportunities to get involved in the on-site kitchens. By the end of the day, each delegate had made kimchi and some fermented sourdough bread, which we were all able to bring home with us.
Key learnings from the day were the importance of ensuring that an increase in fibre consumption is paired with fermented foods consumption, as this helps to support the gut and is more effective than fibre alone. Moreover, mechanistically, in terms of anxiety and depression, there are several major players involved, namely oxidative stress, inflammation, altered immune functioning and mitochondrial dysfunction, which may be caused and exacerbated by intestinal permeability and imbalances within the composition of the gut microbiome. Throughout the day, the importance of pairing psychology approaches and behaviour change management, as well as taking a personalised approach to each individual, was emphasised.
Most interestingly (and excitingly) is as this field is so emerging, what we know is very little, and therefore there is great scope for those reading to get involved and become contributors and pioneers in this field. This field of research is now expanding to explore PTSD, schizophrenia and bipolar, as well as dementia, and no doubt many interesting findings will emerge over the next few years. Areas where it became clear that research is limited presently, with relation to nutritional psychiatry, include borderline personality disorder and other personality disorders, as well as psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders and body dysmorphia. This could make for an interesting and landmark dissertation, thesis or even PhD for readers thus inclined!
Nutritank are most grateful for the warm welcome that Culinary Medicine UK and the Food and Mood Centre extended, and for such an inspirational, informative day. We look forward to future events and research findings with keen anticipation, and wish them the very best in all things.