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Integrative Psychiatry

Nutrition Protocols for Psychiatric Symptoms by Shelese Pratt, ND

By April 20, 2021No Comments

Did you know that the average American consumes 57 pounds of sugar per year? Learn more about Nutrition Protocols for Psychiatric Symptoms with Dr. Shelese Pratt.


We can have a diet that is working for us or against us, right? If we think about lifestyle, the diet as a lifestyle, and this is the hardest part is when we start converting people to eating in a different way.

And the first thing they want to put on it is, this is a diet, right. And this is going to have a negative connotation, if it’s an adult, and they had a parent, or some kind of person in their life that told them they had to eat a certain way in order to be accepted.

We have to get past a lot of these barriers, or we were rewarded with certain behaviors. We were rewarded when we did really well, we got a Snickers bar at the end of the day. And so, we’re working against some of these rewards or acceptance models. And so, we really have to think about this as a lifestyle, we’re really changing and thinking about this as something we do every day, not because it’s a diet, but more that it’s a function of our health.

Sugar: The average American child eats 49 lbs. of sugar each year.

The average American consumes 57 pounds of sugar per year.

That’s a lot of sugar. And the average child eats 49 pounds. I mean, you go to the grocery store, and even if you get organic Horizon milk, it has sugar in it, because that’s the way they’ve learned that they need to sell products now – we need to add sugar. Regulating blood sugar is a huge part of all of our practices. Not everyone has the ability to eat that much sugar and be able to tolerate it and metabolically be able to manage that.

We’ve found that lots of different psychological disorders can be really helped by changing both the microbiome and our nutrition, what we’re feeding it. And anxiety symptoms can be alleviated. Probiotics are amazing, and we can use those and get great results in some patients. When we have certain strains of say lactobacillus, we actually create more of a histamine response, and all of a sudden, they respond poorly to probiotics. And what I think is really great about this study is it showed that changing the diet was more effective than giving a probiotic at changing the microbiome.

Mediterranean Diet
This is probably the most widely researched as well as highly supported diets that we have. What’s good about it? It’s high in really good protein. It’s really high in fiber, it’s going to balance blood sugar, it’s going to really diversify your microbiome by all of these really amazing, colorful vegetables that you’re going to add, great oils. It has you exercise I mean, on some parts of this Mediterranean diet, they also say, you know, you’re social, you’re more social, you’re spending more time, you’re exercising.

Anti-inflammatory diet
An anti-inflammatory diet, though, we have lots of research, basically saying it’s fantastic for reducing inflammation, and specifically, ultimately neuro inflammation which is what you guys are interested in.

Frederick Barrett is a cognitive neuroscientist with training in behavioral pharmacology, and the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. Dr. Barrett has been conducting psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins University since 2013, and his research in healthy participants and in patients with mood and substance use disorders focuses on the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying the enduring therapeutic and other effects of psychedelic drugs. In 2017, he received an NIH “R03” grant as Principal Investigator to investigate biological mechanisms of psilocybin effects, the first federally funded research since the 1970s administering a classic psychedelic to people with psychedelic effects as the primary focus. He has developed measures of subjective effects of psychedelic drugs, and has also published first-in-human studies characterizing the acute and enduring effects of psilocybin on the brain. He is currently leading clinical trials to investigate the use of psilocybin to treat patients with major depressive disorder and co-occurring alcohol use disorder, and he is leading a number of ongoing studies aimed at better understanding the psychological, biological, and neural mechanisms underlying therapeutic efficacy of psychedelic drugs.

Will Van Derveer, MD is co-founder of Integrative Psychiatry Institute (IPI), along with friend and colleague Keith Kurlander, MA. He co-created IPI as an expression of what he stands for. First, that anyone can heal, and second that we medical providers must embrace our own healing journeys in order to fully command our potency as healers.

Dr. Van Derveer spent the last 20 years innovating and testing a comprehensive approach to addressing psychiatric challenges which transcends the conventional model he learned in medical school at Vanderbilt University and residency at University of Colorado, while deeply engaging his own healing path.

He founded the Integrative Psychiatric Healing Center in in 2001 in Boulder, CO, where he currently practices. Dr. Van Derveer regards unresolved emotional trauma as the most significant root cause of psychiatric symptoms in integrative psychiatry practice, along with gut issues, hormone imbalances, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other functional medicine challenges. He is trained in Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, and other psychotherapy techniques. His current clinical passion is psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which he mentors interested doctors in providing. An avid meditator, he has been a meditation instructor since 2004.

For the past several years Dr. Van Derveer has taught psychiatrists and other psychiatric providers integrative psychiatry in a number of settings, including course directing the CU psychiatry residents’ course as well as with Scott Shannon and Janet Settle at the Psychiatry MasterClass. In addition to his clinical work and teaching, he was co-investigator in 2016 a Phase II randomized clinical trial, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He continues to support this protocol, now in a Phase III clinical trial under break-through designation by FDA.

Dr. Van Derveer is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABoIHM) since 2013, and he was board certified in the first wave of diplomates of the new American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABIM) in 2016.