GABA and Mental Disorders

Research Paper Title

Development and validation of a UPLC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous determination of gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamic acid in human plasma.

Background

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and its precursor glutamic acid are important neurotransmitters. Both are also present in peripheral tissues and the circulation, where abnormal plasma concentrations have been linked to specific mental disorders. In addition to endogenous synthesis, GABA and glutamic acid can be obtained from dietary sources.

An increasing number of studies suggest beneficial cardio-metabolic effects of GABA intake, and therefore GABA is being marketed as a food supplement.

The need for further research into their health effects merits accurate and sensitive methods to analyse GABA and glutamic acid in plasma.

Methods

To this end, an ultra-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the quantification of GABA and glutamic acid in human plasma.

Samples were prepared by a protein precipitation step and subsequent solid phase extraction using acetonitrile.

Results

Chromatographic separation was achieved on an Acquity UPLC HSS reversed phase C18 column using gradient elution. Analytes were detected using electrospray ionisation and selective reaction monitoring. Standard curve concentrations for GABA ranged from 3.4 to 2500 ng/mL and for glutamic acid from 30.9 ng/mL to 22,500 ng/mL. Within- and between-day accuracy and precision were <10% in quality control samples at low, medium and high concentrations for both GABA and glutamic acid. GABA and glutamic acid were found to be stable in plasma after freeze-thaw cycles and up to 12 months of storage. The validated method was applied to human plasma from 17 volunteers. The observed concentrations ranged between 11.5 and 20.0 ng/ml and 2269 and 7625 ng/ml for respectively GABA and glutamic acid.

Conclusions

The reported method is well suited for the measurement of plasma GABA and glutamic acid in pre-clinical or clinical studies.

Reference

de Bie, T.H., Witkamp, R.F., Jongsma, M.A. & Balvers, M.G.J. (2021) Development and validation of a UPLC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous determination of gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamic acid in human plasma. Journal of Chromatography. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2020.122519. Online ahead of print.

Book: Travel Light: A Handbook for Mental Health

Brain Changer eBook

Book Title:

Travel Light: A Handbook for Mental Health.

Author(s): Linda Margaret.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: CCS.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Linda Cowan is a counsellor/therapist; she has worked at her Private Practice for many years.

Linda has drawn on the experience she has learnt over the years to inspire her to write her new book, ‘Travel Light a Handbook for Mental Health’.

Linda acknowledges that not everyone has access to private therapy (this book is not a substitute for personal therapy) however, it will go a long way to help people understand themselves in a way they have never before. If you are: tormented by anxiety- doubts and self-critical thoughts- stressed and overwhelmed by unhealthy addictive behaviours – weighed down by the mental clutter of unforgiveness, anger and shame.

This book is for you; Whether you have a strong faith or no faith, this book will transform and revolutionise your life. You will learn to find peace in a frantic world.

Book: Brain Changer

Brain Changer eBook

Book Title:

Brain Changer: How diet can save your mental health – cutting-edge science from an expert.

Author(s): Felice Jacka.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Yellow Kite.

Type(s): Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

A combination of Professor Felice Jacka’s love of food and her own experience of depression and anxiety as a young woman led her to question whether what we put in our mouths everyday affects more than our waistline. Felice set out on a journey of discovery to change the status quo and uncover the truth through rigorous science. Beginning her PhD in 2005, she examined the association between women’s diets and their mental health, focusing on depression and anxiety. She soon discovered – you feel how you eat. It is Professor Jacka’s ground-breaking research that has now changed the way we think about mental and brain health in relation to diet.

Brain Changer explains how and why we should consider our food as the basis of our mental and brain health throughout our lives. It includes a selection of recipes and meal plans featuring ingredients beneficial to mental health. It also includes the simple, practical solutions we can use to help prevent mental health problems in the first place and offers strategies for treating these problems if they do arise.

This is not a diet book to help you on the weight scales. This is a guide to good habits to save your brain and to optimise your mental health through what you eat at every stage of life.

What is the Effect of Nutrition on Mental HEalth?

Research Paper Title

The Effect of Nutrition on Mental Health: A Focus on Inflammatory Mechanisms.

Background

Neuropsychiatric disorders are closely associated with a persistent low-grade inflammatory state.

This suggests that the development of psychopathology is not only limited to the brain, but rather involves an additional systemic aspect, accounting for the large body of evidence demonstrating co-presentation of mental illness with chronic inflammatory conditions and metabolic syndromes.

Studies have shown that inflammatory processes underlie the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms, with recent studies revealing not only correlative, but causative relationships between the immune system and psychopathology.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise may influence psychopathology, and this may occur via a bidirectional relationship.

Mental illness may prevent health-seeking behaviours such as failing to maintain a balanced diet, whilst adopting a ‘healthy’ diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish alongside nutritional supplementation correlates with a reduction in psychiatric symptoms in patients.

Obesity and the gut microbiome have proven to be further factors which play an important role in inflammatory signalling and the development of psychiatric symptoms.

In a related paper the authors focus on the role of exercise (another significant lifestyle factor) on mental health (Venkatesh et al. 2020).

Conclusions

Lifestyle modifications which target diet and nutrition may prove therapeutically beneficial for many patients, especially in treatment-resistant subgroups.

The current evidence base provides equivocal evidence, however future studies will prove significant, as this is a highly attractive therapeutic avenue, due to its cost efficacy, low side effect profile and preventative potential.

By promoting lifestyle changes and addressing the limitations and barriers to adoption, these therapies may prove revolutionary for mental health conditions.

Reference

Edirappuli, S.D., Venkatesh, A. & Zaman, R. (2020) The Effect of Nutrition on Mental Health: A Focus on Inflammatory Mechanisms. Psychiatria Danubina. 32(Suppl 1), pp.114-120.

What is the Evidence for the Use of Nutrient Supplements in the Treatment of Mental Disorders?

Research Paper Title

The efficacy and safety of nutrient supplements in the treatment of mental disorders: a meta-review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials.

Background

The role of nutrition in mental health is becoming increasingly acknowledged. Along with dietary intake, nutrition can also be obtained from “nutrient supplements”, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and pre/probiotic supplements.

Recently, a large number of meta-analyses have emerged examining nutrient supplements in the treatment of mental disorders.

Methods

To produce a meta-review of this top-tier evidence, the researchers identified, synthesised and appraised all meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting on the efficacy and safety of nutrient supplements in common and severe mental disorders.

Results

Their systematic search identified 33 meta-analyses of placebo-controlled RCTs, with primary analyses including outcome data from 10,951 individuals. The strongest evidence was found for PUFAs (particularly as eicosapentaenoic acid) as an adjunctive treatment for depression.

More nascent evidence suggested that PUFAs may also be beneficial for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, whereas there was no evidence for schizophrenia.

Folate-based supplements were widely researched as adjunctive treatments for depression and schizophrenia, with positive effects from RCTs of high dose methylfolate in major depressive disorder.

There was emergent evidence for N-acetylcysteine as a useful adjunctive treatment in mood disorders and schizophrenia.

All nutrient supplements had good safety profiles, with no evidence of serious adverse effects or contraindications with psychiatric medications.

Conclusions

In conclusion, clinicians should be informed of the nutrient supplements with established efficacy for certain conditions (such as eicosapentaenoic acid in depression), but also made aware of those currently lacking evidentiary support.

Future research should aim to determine which individuals may benefit most from evidence-based supplements, to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

Reference

Firth, J., Teasdale, S.B., Allott, K., Siskind, D., Marz, W., Cotter, J., Veronese, N., Schuch, F., Smith, L., Solmi, M., Carvalho, A.F., Vancampfort, D., Berk, M., Stubbs, B> & Sarris, J. (2019) The efficacy and safety of nutrient supplements in the treatment of mental disorders: a meta-review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. World Psychiatry. 18, pp.308-324.