In addition to medication, psychosocial, and other traditional treatment methods, there are other options that may be effective in treating schizophrenia. It should be noted that no alternative therapy is intended to replace the care and advice of a qualified psychiatrist.
Some experts note that vitamin D may play a role in reducing inflammation and boosting immune system function. Doctors sometimes recommend supplemental vitamin D3 for patients, especially those at risk of cardiovascular disease or depression. Studies have shown that vitamin D is abnormally low among people with some forms of mental illness, such as severe depression, and some experts believe supplementation “can’t hurt and might help.” However, to date, no studies have shown any concrete evidence that vitamin D supplementation has a meaningful impact on schizophrenia.
Fish Oil & Other Supplements
Likewise, fish oil—a natural source of omega-3 fatty acid—is occasionally recommended for the prevention and/or treatment of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. There is no data to suggest that fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids can do anything to improve symptoms of schizophrenia. However, fish oil is generally an excellent supplement for other health reasons and can be recommended to people suffering from schizophrenia. with antioxidant vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Although there have not been studies to date proven its effectiveness, another suggested alternative therapy is supplementation with the amino acid glycine. Glycine is a protein building block that may indirectly improve schizophrenia symptoms (in conjunction with antipsychotic medication) by improving the functionality of certain receptors in the brain. These NMDA receptors are activated through interaction with both glycine and another amino acid, glutamic acid (glutamate). In this capacity, glutamate acts as a common brain messenger chemical (neurotransmitter). The NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis proposes that dysfunctional NMDA receptor interactions are responsible for at least some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
Another “alternative” approach to the treatment of schizophrenia involves following a healthful diet, characterized by low-fat, high-fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fatty fish (a good source of omega-3 fatty acids). Yet another dietary approach involves following a gluten-free diet, on the supposition that gluten intolerance may underlie some symptoms of schizophrenia. There is no evidence that a gluten-free diet can effectively treat schizophrenia. However, all people, regardless of illness, should be encouraged to follow a heart healthy, low-fat, high fiber diet.