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In 1847, when one physician provided sound research that by washing their hands before interacting with pregnant patients, the cases of childbed fever went from 18% to 2%, his medical colleagues scoffed and dismissed him.
Today, we wouldn’t think twice about our doctors washing their hands before seeing us. Actually, we expect it.
So why are we thinking twice about how beneficial micronutrients can be to mental health?
Julia Rucklidge, PhD, is a professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch in New Zealand. After her research with medications repeatedly showed poor outcomes for children with mental illnesses, she turned to the potential benefits of nutrition. The results were astounding.
“Optimizing nutrition is a safe and viable way to avoid, treat, or lessen mental illness. Nutrition matters. Poor nutrition is a significant and modifiable risk factor for the development of mental illness,” Rucklidge declared in her Ted Talk, The Surprisingly Dramatic Role of Nutrition in Mental Health.
According to a 2013 New Zealand Health Survey, mental health disorders in New Zealand children grew significantly in just five years: including a threefold increase in ADHD, a 20-fold increase in autism, and a 40-fold increase in bipolar disorder.
Unfortunately, due to the healthcare system’s “medical model,” in which patients are treated with medication first, followed by therapy and support, many of these individuals suffering from mental illness are being prescribed medications at a young age. Many of these same medications have been proven ineffective, or even dangerous in the long term.
“In 2012, half a million New Zealanders- that’s one-eighth of us- had been prescribed an antidepressant,” Rucklidge reports. “That’s 38% higher than five years previously.”
Rucklidge points to a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled “Three Year Follow Up of the NIMH MTA Study.”
In the original study, the authors wanted to see the effect that medication management, behavior therapy, and usual community care had on 579 children with ADHD.
In the three-year follow-up, they discovered that the group of children who received medication management did not differ significantly from the children who hadn’t.
“By 36 months, the earlier advantage of having had 14 months of the medication algorithm was no longer apparent, possibly due to age-related decline in ADHD symptoms, changes in medication management intensity, starting or stopping medications altogether, or other factors not yet evaluated,” the study concluded.
In the follow-up study to that, “The MTA at 8 Years: Prospective Follow-Up of Children Treated for Combined-Type ADHD in a Multisite Study,” the researchers concluded that the children who had been receiving medication in the study actually did worse.
Eight years later, in an additional follow-up study, “The MTA participants fared worse than the local normative comparison group on 91% of the variables tested,” the study claims.
Furthermore, Rucklidge explains that while the amount of medications being prescribed keeps rising, the amount of mental illness is not decreasing.
“Children with depression who were treated with antidepressants were three times more likely to convert to bipolar disorder than children who were never given these medications,” she said.
Now, to be clear, Rucklidge is not suggesting that all medications are bad. In some cases, these treatments have saved lives. What Rucklidge is daring to ask is, what if we changed our medication-first model of treatment?
Studies have shown that improving diet and supplementing with micronutrients can help ease the symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and bipolar in patients, and create better long term effects than prescription drugs.
In 2009, Rucklidge received funding to run a randomized placebo-controlled trial that focused on using micronutrients for the treatment of ADHD in adults. In this study, they gave individuals up to 15 pills a day with 36 different nutrients. The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The formulation has since been more concentrated and is now available in powder and capsule form here.
“Within just an eight week period, twice as many people responded in the micronutrient group compared to the placebo,” Rucklidge found.
“Twice as many people went into remission in their depression, in the micronutrient group. Hyperactivity and impulsivity reduced into the normal, non-clinical range. And those who were taking the micronutrients were more likely to report that their ADHD symptoms were less impairing and less interfering in their work and social relationships than people who were on the placebo.” Furthermore, one year later, those who continued taking the micronutrients maintained their changes or showed even better improvement.
Rucklidge has gone on to publish over 20 papers, all documenting the benefits of micronutrients. These included studies on bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well. A list of her studies and others like them can be found here.
“When people get well, they get well across the board. Not only in the areas we treated, but also in other areas, like improved sleep, stabilization of mood, reduction of anxiety, reduction in the need for cigarettes, cannabis, and alcohol.”
Her studies found over and over again that 60-80% of people respond really well to micronutrients, and that by supplementing properly, they can help not only ease the symptoms of mental health disorders, but also help patients in the long-term.
Thousands of people have turned to Hardy Nutritionals® micronutrients to ease their symptoms and help them get their lives back. Not all multivitamin-mineral supplements are created equal, and with Hardy's you are getting the best micronutrient formulations on the market! Hardy’s micronutrients are backed by peer-reviewed published research, including studies by Dr. Rucklidge herself. Clinicians and psychologists have recommended these micronutrients to their patients experiencing bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, sleep issues, anxiety, and ADHD and have seen amazing results, without turning to prescription medications.
You can learn more about Hardy's micronutrients here.