Mental health and nutrition researchers seek anxiety study participants
Professor Julia Rucklidge
, the driving force behind the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group
at the University of Canterbury (UC), is seeking pregnant participants for the latest study on anxiety and depression.
“What we’re doing at the University of Canterbury is studying the effects of vitamins and minerals –such as zinc or
magnesium or B12 or vitamin D – on psychological symptoms. We’re seeing whether or not we can improve people’s mental
health by using nutrients that are in your food but at higher levels than you typically get out of eating your fruit and
vegetables,” Professor Rucklidge says.
Professor Rucklidge was recently selected as a finalist for the Women of Influence award in the Innovation & Science category
for her research in this field.
“We are currently looking at depression and anxiety during pregnancy, and in the general population, to see whether a
vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) supplement can improve low mood and anxiety, so if this affects you or one of your
family members, you may be able to participate in one of our studies.
“For the pregnancy study, we are giving women either the vitamins and minerals or a matching placebo (which contains
iodine as this nutrient is recommended for all women during pregnancy) – everyone is blind to what they’re taking – and
then we follow them for 12 weeks to see what happens to the symptoms that they presented with,” she says.
“After the 12 weeks, everyone gets to try the nutrients which gives us the opportunity to also study the effects of
these nutrients on the infants.”
“We’ve been doing this type of research for 10 years, so we’ve published a lot of research. So far it’s been very
encouraging. All of our studies are pointing in the direction that nutrition is incredibly relevant to mental health,”
Professor Rucklidge says.
To register your interest for the micronutrient study for pregnant women, and to see other current studies at the lab,