Micro-nutrient benefits in some mental disorders

London: A micro-nutrient supplement may confer big benefits on sufferers of mental illness, according to a clinical psychologist.

Julia Rucklidge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Canterbury, has just conducted a study on the effect of micro-nutrients on behaviour and mood in adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), affecting 3 to 5 percent adults.

The study is based on findings of an open-label trial (all participants know what treatment they are receiving) she conducted with adults with both ADHD and severe mood dysregulation (SMD).

Over eight weeks the participants ingested a 36-ingredient micro-nutrient formula that consisted of mainly vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The participants were taking no other medications.

Significant improvements were noted across informants (self, observer and clinician) in Rucklidge`s trial on measures of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, mood, quality of life, anxiety and stress, all with medium to very large effect sizes.

"Most of the individuals were in a moderate to severe depressed state at the commencement of the trial and, at the end of the eight weeks, the mean score on the depression measure fell in the normal non-depressed range, which is a fairly remarkable change in such a short time," said Rucklidge.

"Participants were monitored for a further two months and people who stayed on the micro-nutrient formula showed further improvements and the ones who came off showed regression in their symptoms," he added.

Another important finding from the study was that the micro-nutrient treatment had remarkably few side effects in comparison to many of the mood stabilizers and stimulant regimes.

These findings were published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.