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A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

fact sheet created 18 December 2006
[LID 8802]

As a naturopath I help a lot of people with diagnosed mental illness. Most patients I see have little understanding of the importance of a proper diet, and the impacts this has on their mental health and well being.

Medical literature highlights that poor nutrition and environmental toxins are factors linked with learning and behavioural problems, as well as depression and mental illness. Confirmation of the research literature has been done by hair analyses conducted on my patients with mental illness who regularly show high levels of toxins such as mercury [Ref. 8], lead [ Ref. 11, 13], arsenic [ Ref. 12] and cadmium [ Ref. 14].

It would benefit patients diagnosed with a mental illness to be referred to a dietician or Naturopath. They should also be encouraged to include some very basic nutritional supplements such as Omega 3 [Ref. 9, 10] and a multivitamin [Refs. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6] as part of their treatments, as these have been shown to improve mental health. Patients would also benefit from screening for toxins and being treated appropriately by a specialist in this area.

Having a holistic approach to mental health would benefit patients suffering from mental illness. It may also reduce the number of patients requiring medication, and reduce suffering for them and their family. The benefits of a healthy balanced diet, hydration and regular exercise [3] should not be underestimated.

I have attached a list of articles and research papers supporting these statements.


Catherine Hancock N.D,
Good Life health food shop
Shop 7 Dog Swamp Shopping Centre
Yokine, Western Australia 6060
phone (08) 9443 1553


  1. Dommisse, J. Subtle vitamin-B12 deficiency and psychiatry: a largely unnoticed but devastating relationship? Medical Hypotheses. 34(2):131-140, 1991 -

  2. Lansdowne, A. T., et al. Vitamin D3 enhances mood in healthy subjects during winter. Psychopharmacology. 135(4):319-323, 1998. Department of Psychology, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan NSW, Australia -

  3. De Coverly Veale, D. M. W. Exercise and mental health. Acta Psychiatry Scandinavia. 76:113-120, 1976.

  4. Levenson, C. W. Zinc: the new antidepressant? Nutrition Reviews. 64(1):39-42, 2006  -;jsessionid

  5. Murck, H. Magnesium and affective disorders. Nutr Neurosci. 5(6):375-389, 2002.

  6. Benton, D., et al. Selenium supplementation improves mood in a double-blind crossover trial. Psychopharmacology. 102(4):549-550, 1990. Department of Psychology, University College, Swansea, Wales, UK.

  7. Walton, R. G., et al. Adverse reactions to aspartame: double- blind challenge in patients from a vulnerable population. Biol Psychiatry. 34(1-2):13-17, 1993.

  8. Silberund, R., et al. Evidence that mercury from silver dental fillings may be an etiological factor in depression, anger and anxiety. Psychol Rep. 74:67-80, 1994.

  9. Arvindakshan, M., et al. Supplementation with a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants (vitamins E and C) improves the outcome of schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 62(3):195-204, 2003.

  10. Nemets, B., et al. Addition of omega-3 fatty acid to maintenance medication treatment for recurrent unipolar depressive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry. 159:477-479, 2002.

  11. H. L. Needleman, J. A. Riess, M. J. Tobin, G. E. Biesecker and J. B. Greenhouse Bone lead levels and delinquent behavior. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine, USA -

  12. V.M Rodriguez et al. Glutathione reductase inhibition and methylated arsenic distribution in Cd1 mice brain and liver

  13. Michelle Naylor, Lead Poisoning and the Brain - Cognitive Deficits and Mental Illness, 21 Oct 2005, The LEAD Group Inc -

  14. William J. Walsh, Ph.D., Biochemical Treatment of Behavior, Learning & Mental Disorders,17 Nov 1997, Health Research Institute Pfeiffer Treatment Center (HRIPTC) -

The LEAD Group Inc. Fact Sheet Index

NSW Lead Reference Centre and NSW Government Publications On this site

  1. About the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

  2. Main Sources of Lead

  3. How Would You Know If You or Your Child Was lead poisoned?

  4. Lead aware housekeeping

  5. Ceiling dust & lead poisoning

  6. Is your yard lead safe?

  7. Health Impacts of lead poisoning

  8. Rotary Questionnaire

  9. Lead poisoned Pets and Your Family

  10. Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire

  11. Is Your Child Safe From Lead? - What Can You Do About Lead?

  12. Lead in Drinking Water in Australia

  13. Have We Really Resolved The Lead Issue?

  14. The Importance of the Availability of "Spot Tests" for Lead in Paint

  15. Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy

  16. Breastfeeding and Lead

  17. Lead in breast milk

  18. Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

  19. Renting and Lead

  20. What to do if you have too much lead in your tank water

  21. Lead Contamination in Stormwater

  22. Contamination At Shooting Ranges

  23. Banned: Leaded Wick Candles

  24. Lead, Ageing and Death

  25. Metal miniatures: How to minimise the risks of lead poisoning and contamination

  26. 7 Point Plan for the MANAGEMENT OF LEAD by Australian parents and carers

  27. Countries where Leaded Petrol is Possibly Still Sold for Road Use, As at 17th June 2011

  28. Lead Poisoning And The Brain - Cognitive Deficits And Mental Illness

  29. Facts and Firsts of Lead

  30. Lead mining royalties by state and territory

  31. Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group

  32. Preventative Strategies of The LEAD Group

  33. What do Doctors need to do about Lead?

  34. A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

  35. Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works

  36. Glass Web & Service-Users, Experts & Volunteers, by Country; Countries with Leaded Petrol for Road Use & Worst Pollution

  37. Lead in ceiling dust

  38. Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely

  39. Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here??

  40. Broken Hill lead miners factsheet 1893 with Note 20081015

  41. Helping a Doctor Help 35,000 Lead-Poisoned People Around the Lead Smelter at La Oroya in Peru
    Ayuda a un doctor que ayuda 35,000 personas envenenadas por plomo alrededor de la fundidora de plomo en la Oroya-Peru

  42. Fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

  43. Iron Nutrition & Lead Toxicity
    Informe de Acciones – Hierro y Plomo en la Nutrición

  44. Sanitarium-Are You getting Enough Iron

  45. Do-It-Yourself-Lead-Safe-Test-Kits-flyer

  46. Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  47. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to both adults and children

  48. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There A Link?

  49. In CHINA - Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  50. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you take advantage of the Australian government's Energy Efficient Homes Package: Insulation Program

  51. Alperstein et al Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals 1994

  52. Ceiling Dust WorkCover Guide Lee Schreiber Final Nov 1999

  53. What can I do about climate change AND lead?

  54. The Need for Expert Clinical Assessments in Diagnosis Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  55. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you have insulation installed

  56. Thirty Thought-Starters on Ceiling Void Dust in Homes

  57. Pectin: Panacea for both lead poisoning and lead contamination

  58. Nutrients that reduce lead poisoning June 2010

  59. Lead poisoning and menopause

  60. Fact sheet For Schoolkids From Professor Knowlead About Lead

  61. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia

  62. Mencegah kontak dengan timbal di tempat kerja di Indonesia

  63. How to Protect Your Family from Lead in Indonesia

  64. Bagaimana melindungi keluargamu dari timbal di Indonesia

  65. Cigarette Smoking & Lead Toxicity
     صحيفة معلومات: التدخين والتسمم بالرصاص

  66. Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For Occupational Lead Exposure

  67. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to children

  68. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to adults

  69. Biosolids used as fertilizer in China and other countries

  70. What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?

  71. Alcohol’s link to higher lead and iron levels

  72. USA Case Definition of Adult (including Occupational) & Child Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLL)

  73. Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children - A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention

  74. Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet Dangers of lead for roofers

  75. Let’s Make Leaded Petrol History - Let’s Make Leaded Gasoline History

  76. Lead, Your Health & the Environment. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese 

  77. Lead Safe Housekeeping

  78. Old Lead Paint

  79. Working safely with lead

  80. A Renovator's Guide To The Dangers Of Lead (Brochure 30 pages)

  81. A Guide For Health Care Professionals (Brochure 34 pages)

  82. A Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead (Brochure 20 pages)

  83. Lead Hazard Management In Children's Services (Brochure 15 pages)

  84. A Guide To Dealing With Soil That Might Be Lead-Contaminated

  85. Exposure Assessment: Lead Neurotoxicity - Is the Center for Disease Control's goal to reduce lead below 10 µg/dl blood in all children younger than 72 months by 2010, good enough?

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