Following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, researchers randomized 91 earthquake survivors to take one of two vitamin-mineral formulas (Berocca Performance or a micronutrient formulation co-developed† by Hardy Nutritionals® founder David Hardy. Then they measured symptoms of situation-induced depression, anxiety, and stress in these individuals, as well as 25 additional people who took no supplement (a control group). After 4 weeks, 20% of the control group, 43% of the Berocca Performance group, and 74% of the group taking the micronutrients showed significant improvement in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Researchers concluded that this study supports micronutrients as an inexpensive and practical treatment for acute stress following a natural disaster, with a slight advantage to higher doses.
Shaken but unstirred? Effects of micronutrients on stress and trauma after an earthquake: RCT evidence comparing formulas and doses.
Rucklidge JJ, Andridge R, Gorman B, Blampied N, Gordon H, Boggis A. Human Psychopharmacology. 2012 Sep;27(5):440-54.
A 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand created a natural experiment for measuring the protective effects of a micronutrient formulation co-developed† by Hardy Nutritionals® founder David Hardy on mood, anxiety and stress. Prior to the earthquake, researchers had assessed mood, anxiety and stress levels in a group of 33 adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and they chose to repeat the same measures after the earthquake. Scores showed that the 16 participants taking micronutrients were more resilient to the effects of the earthquake than the 17 individuals not taking any supplement. This effect was particularly marked for depression scores.
Post-earthquake psychological functioning in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: positive effects of micronutrients on resilience.
Rucklidge JJ, Blampied, NM. New Zealand Journal of Psychology. 2011;40(4):51.
After devastating flooding in southern Alberta in June 2013, we attempted to replicate a New Zealand randomised trial that showed that micronutrient (minerals, vitamins) consumption after the earthquakes of 2010-11 resulted in improved mental health. Residents of southern Alberta were invited to participate in a study on the potential benefit of nutrient supplements following a natural disaster. Fifty-six adults aged 23-66 were randomised to receive a single nutrient (vitamin D, n=17), a few-nutrients formula (B-Complex, n=21), or a broad-spectrum mineral/vitamin formula (BSMV, n=18). Self-reported changes in depression, anxiety and stress were monitored for six weeks. Although all groups showed substantial decreases on all measures, those consuming the B-Complex and the BSMV formulas showed significantly greater improvement in stress and anxiety compared with those consuming the single nutrient, with large effect sizes (Cohen's d range 0.76-1.08). There were no group differences between those consuming the B-Complex and BSMV. The use of nutrient formulas with multiple minerals and/or vitamins to minimise stress associated with natural disasters is now supported by three studies. Further research should be carried out to evaluate the potential population benefit that might accrue if such formulas were distributed as a post-disaster public health measure.
A randomised trial of nutrient supplements to minimise psychological stress after a natural disaster
Kaplan BJ, Rucklidge JJ, Romijn AR, Dolph M. Psychiatry Res. 2015 Aug 30;228(3):373-9.
The role of good nutrition for resilience in the face of stress is a topic of interest, but difficult to study. A 7.1 earthquake took place in the midst of research on a micronutrient treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a unique opportunity to examine whether individuals with ADHD taking micronutrients demonstrated more emotional resilience post-earthquake than individuals with ADHD not taking micronutrients. Thirty-three adults with ADHD were assessed twice following the earthquake using a measure of depression, anxiety and stress also completed at some point pre-earthquake (baseline). Seventeen were not taking micronutrients at the time of the earthquake (control group), 16 were (micronutrient group). While there were no between-group differences one week post-quake (Time 1), at two weeks post-quake (Time 2), the micronutrient group reported significantly less anxiety and stress than the controls (effect size 0.69). These between group differences could not be explained by other variables, such as pre-earthquake measures of emotions, demographics, psychiatric status, and personal loss or damage following the earthquake. The results suggest micronutrients may increase resilience to ongoing stress and anxiety associated with a highly stressful event in individuals with ADHD and are consistent with controlled studies showing benefit of micronutrients for mental health.
Micronutrients reduce stress and anxiety following a 7.1 earthquake in adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Rucklidge JJ, Johnstone J, Harrison R, Boggis A. 2011. Psychiatry Research, 189:281-87.
Insomnia is a debilitating condition causing psychological distress and frequently comorbid with other mental health conditions. This study examined the effect of 8 weeks of treatment by broad spectrum micronutrients (Hardy Nutritionals® Daily Self Defense™) on insomnia using a multiple-baseline-across-participants open-label trial design. Seventeen adults were randomized to 1-, 2-, or 3-week baseline periods (14 completed). Self-report measures were the Consensus Sleep Diary–Morning (CSD-M), the Pittsburgh Insomnia Rating Scale (PIRS), and the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS). Baselines were generally stable. Treatment completers reported reliable and clinically significant change in insomnia severity (PIRS), in depression, stress, and anxiety (DASS), and on at least two aspects of sleep measured by the CDS-M. All completers were treatment-compliant, and side effects were minimal. Nutritional supplementation is shown to be a novel, beneficial treatment for insomnia in adults. Follow-up research using placebo-controlled designs as well as comparisons to cognitive-behavioral and other treatments is recommended.
Effect of Micronutrients on Insomnia in Adults: A Multiple-Baseline Study
Joanna Lothian, Neville M. Blampied, Julia J. Rucklidge. Clinical Psychological Science. May 23, 2016.doi:10.1177/2167702616631740
†The micronutrient formulation studied was a pre-2013 version of Truehope EMPowerplus which was co-formulated by David Hardy and Anthony Stephan. Truehope EMPowerplus is a registered trademark of The Synergy Group of Canada Inc., which was co-founded by David Hardy and Anthony Stephan in 1999. David Hardy officially resigned as a shareholder of The Synergy Group of Canada Inc. and director of Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. in 2013 to focus his efforts exclusively on Hardy Nutritionals®.