Mental health and nutrition researchers seek anxiety study participants

08 August 2018

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.

  • Rucklidge_NWS_block

    Professor Julia Rucklidge was recently selected as a finalist for the Women of Influence award in the Innovation & Science category for her research. (Krystle Photography)

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.”

There is also a new trial looking at the effects of nutrients for mental health, anxiety and depression in a community sample.

“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, visit: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/science/schools-and-departments/psychology/research/mental-health-nutrition/

To contact any of the researchers in the lab who are currently running studies: Phone: +64 (03) 369 2386, email: mentalhealthnutrition@canterbury.ac.nz

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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