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Nutrition and Mental Health

6 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $59.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D. & Azzia Walker, B.A.

This course is also offered as part of Certificate Program in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) 35 CE Credits

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

Throughout human evolution people have used plants, animals, and natural medicines to help them stay healthy and live a balanced life. Long before hospitals and pharmaceutical companies were the center of healthcare, many people relied on natural remedies and nutrition to heal physical and mental disturbances. In today's medical culture, however, only remedies with funding get advertised, produced in bulk, and promoted for widespread sale. People with and without mental illness are routinely placed on pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause serious unwanted side effects and interact with each other in dangerous and unexpected ways. While, obviously, in many cases modern pharmaceutical medications are very useful with the right course of action, and at times they do more harm than good. People struggling with depression are often told that medication is the only option, ignoring the facts that these medications can cause weight gain, lethargy, and increase risk of suicide. Many consumers do not know about alternatives to psychopharmacological interventions that include nutritional treatments for common mental health conditions.

Nutrition interventions in medical and psychotherapeutic settings are part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), a modality which has been in existence for thousands of years. In recent years there has been increased awareness and research of the many benefits of CAM for promoting health and wellness. Many experts predict that CAM will be extensively integrated into medical and mental health treatments in coming years. This course is focused on the nutrition aspect of CAM.

This important intermediate level course presents eight articles on nutrition and mental health. Seven of the eight articles are from the prestigious, peer-reviewed, medline-indexed, Alternative Medicine Review journal. The introductory section contains one article on nutritional therapies for mental illness. Next come sections on ADHD, Alzheimer's, and Depression. Each contains research and findings on the nutritional deficiencies that can cause or exacerbate symptoms of these conditions, and recommended nutritional treatments and lifestyle changes to correct these problems. For example, a high-sugar diet mixed with television and no exercise can lead to aggression and manic behavior in children. The course also offers a section on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and its many reported health benefits, and it concludes with References and Resources for further exploration.

Disclaimer: The content of this course and this site is for informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this course or this site is or should be considered or used as a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with a licensed, quality medical professional about diagnosis, treatment, and health care advice before a change or proposed change in a treatment plan. The course encourages clinicians and patients to clearly differentiate between supplements and FDA approved drugs.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    Question the ethics of prescribing pharmaceutical drugs before performing nutritional evaluation or tests.

2.    Educate prescribing and non-prescribing clinicians on nutritional treatment.

3.    Cite research on nutritional remedies for mental illness.

4.    Describe the symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

5.    Expand the medication-only approach to treatment in favor of a more inclusive evaluation, including the importance of nutritionally stabilizing elements.

6.    Integrate diet and nutrition, when appropriate, into the treatment plan.

Course Syllabus

Nutritional Therapies for Mental Health Conditions and Disorders - An Overview


  • Comorbid conditions
  • Magnesium
  • Mood swings
  • Sugar
  • Television
  • Vitamin B


  • Cell death
  • Environmental pollution
  • Exercise
  • Ginko biloba
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin
  • Melatonin
  • Possible causes


  • Antioxidants
  • Echium
  • Lavendar
  • Omega-3
  • Rhodiola
  • Saffron
  • Seratonin
  • St. John's Wort
  • Vitamin C


  • Vitamin C
  • Omega-3

Critique and Caution in the Use of Supplements for Mental Health Conditions

Online Resources

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