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Nutrition affects mood and mental health. That’s what clinical psychologists Dr. Julia Rucklidge and Dr. Bonnie Kaplan set out to prove almost two decades ago when they noticed nutritional deficiency was common among individuals suffering from ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more.
Nearly twenty-five years down the road, their work is being widely accepted by mainstream psychiatry.
A recent article in Psychiatric Times titled "Nutritional Treatments: The Next Frontier in Psychiatry" highlights Drs. Rucklidge and Kaplan's research on supplementing with a specialized blend of clinical-strength micronutrients. Here’s a summary of the article:
When Supplementing Comes Into Play
Based on a wealth of research, we know that a Mediterranean-style diet is ideal for optimum health. That means meals that include vegetables, whole grains, seeds, legumes, and lean proteins. Conversely, an ultra-processed diet, frequently referred to as the Western diet, generally precedes poor mental health. Those foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats may be easy to get your hands on but harder to shake the effects of.
Dr. Rucklidge and Dr. Kaplan are huge proponents of healthy eating. However, during the course of their research, they discovered that even those who eat the best diets might not be getting all of the nutrients that they need to thrive (as a result of soil depletion, for one). Those deficiencies, combined with food labels' heavy focus on macronutrients instead of micronutrients, set consumers up for success.
Introducing broad-spectrum micronutrient supplementation, however, contributed to healthy brain function in a myriad of ways - including supporting the brain’s metabolism, optimizing mitochondrial function, modifying genetic expression, fighting excess inflammation, and protecting from environmental toxins.
Determining when to turn to micronutrient supplements depends on the individual. Environmental factors play a role. For example, if your food is coming from locations that use herbicides and pesticides, you may not be getting the nutrients you need. Or if you live in an environment with less sun or more natural disasters, all of that will play a role in your body’s physical health. Genetics, medication use, and gut health also make a difference. For example, taking certain medications may leave your brain needing more nutrients for optimal function of brain metabolic pathways, or gut health problems may compromise the absorption of micronutrients from food.
Feeling stressed? Chronic stress can lead to nutrient depletion as well.
The Evidence Behind Supplementation
Researchers have found clinical connections between micronutrient supplementation and several mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, substance abuse disorder, and ADHD. There are now several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) proving that these specialized micronutrients could improve mental resilience, reduce aggression and violence, and even improve sleep and gastrointestinal problems in individuals suffering from mood and mental health disorders.
All the Treatments, Without the Side Effects
The researchers haven’t discovered adverse side effects with their patients using a micronutrient treatment. Those who experience anything negative are typically transient (temporary while getting used to the formula), such as headaches and stomachaches but can be avoided with easy lifestyle changes like taking the capsules on a full stomach and drinking plenty of water.
Overall, the implementation of micronutrients is changing the way psychiatrists approach mental health. Nutritional psychiatry is rapidly expanding as a field, and Hardy Nutritionals is proud to have been at the forefront all these years. If you want to read more about how micronutrient supplementation can affect mental health, check out our peer-reviewed, published, double-blind studies today here.