Reprint of: Elemental dysregulation in psychotic spectrum disorders: A review and research synthesis

Nina Zaks, Christine Austin, Manish Arora, Abraham Reichenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accumulating evidence from observational studies, genetic research, and animal models suggests a relationship between toxic and nutritive elements and psychotic spectrum disorders (PSD). This review systematically evaluates the current research evidence for two hypotheses: 1) that exposures to abnormal levels of toxic and nutritive elements early in life contributes to the subsequent development of PSD, and 2) that an imbalance of element levels is linked to psychotic illness and clinical severity. We focused on the extant literature on five elements, lead (Pb), copper (Cu), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn), because of their previously documented associations with psychiatric problems and the availability of pertinent literature. The review identified 38 studies of which 11 measured Pb, 27 measured Cu, 16 measured Mg, 15 measured Mn, and 25 measured Zn concentrations in PSD patients and controls. A majority of research has been conducted on nutritive element imbalance, and findings are largely mixed. While it is biologically plausible that element dysregulation is an important modifiable risk factor for PSD, more research into exposure in early life is needed to better characterize this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Environment
  • Metals
  • Psychosis


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