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Te Puna Toiora: Mental Health and Nutrition Research Lab

05 December 2023

Our research group aims to find nutritional interventions that are effective in treating psychiatric/psychological illness. At our lab, we independently test new, ground-breaking, multi-nutrient formulae, probiotics, and other natural, beneficial substances. Learn more about Te Puna Toiora Mental Health and Nutrition Research.


At our lab, we independently test new, groundbreaking multinutrient formulae, probiotics and other natural, beneficial substances. We run studies on many different psychological disorders, including ADHD (in both adults and children), addictions, depression and stress. We use all kinds of different trial designs to test these products, including multiple baseline designs, open label, and the ‘gold standard’ of clinical testing, the randomised, placebo-controlled trial (RCT).

We are not employed by the manufacturers of these products; we have no interest in getting a good result for them. All we’re interested in is finding real treatments that work, for the good of people affected by psychological illnesses.

Current research

About us


About our work

At the moment, our studies are only open to people who are not taking any psychiatric drugs. If you’d like to find out what trials we are running at the moment, or would like to take part, please visit the study pages above. If you’re not eligible for any of our trials, or you just feel as though you’d like a bit of support, please check out the Resources tab, where we have provided a list of counselling and other relevant services within Christchurch. For information about the products we study, please email Julia Rucklidge.

The range of the response to micronutrients can vary from a small but noticeable improvement to a substantial and dramatic life changing improvement. Based on short-term trials, about 50% show a meaningful and clinically important change. Others show a more modest improvement. A minority (probably about 20%) do not respond at all. Our research shows that the number of people responding goes up the longer they stay on the micronutrients. One appealing aspect of the approach is that people report very few side effects and they tend to be mild and transient. This research has been done on many different psychiatric conditions, ranging from bipolar disorder to ADHD to anxiety to stress.

All our studies have ethical approval from the University of Canterbury Human Ethics Committee and the Health and Disabilities Ethics Committee.

Our funding sources include: Health Research Council of NZ, The Waterloo Foundation, Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, Gravida, Vic Davis Memorial Trust, the GAMA Foundation, Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, the University of Canterbury Foundation and a number of private donations.

This research is hard to fund with public funds. Anyone interested in financially supporting this line of research can make donations to the University Foundation (with tax benefits). Simply go to Donating to UC | University of Canterbury. In the Designation section, choose Other and state in the comment box: Julia Rucklidge’s Mental Health and Nutrition Research Lab.

Nutritional interventions to support wellbeing

Could the key to unlocking mental health and wellbeing be as simple as what you eat? Get up to speed with the latest research. Learn how to upgrade your mental health and wellbeing, and nourish those in your care.

This course is ideal for:

  • Health industry professionals
  • HR professionals
  • Managers
  • Teachers
  • Parents

Explore the relationship between nutrition and wellbeing, and investigate the research-backed strategies that have been proven to maintain and improve our wellbeing. For more information go to UC Online here.


The UC Science Blog is a platform for academics, staff and students of the University of Canterbury’s Faculty of Science to communicate their science.


If you would like to read some of the blogs produced by the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Lab you can read here.

If you are interested in contributing, get in touch!

Connect with us

Products/research programme contact

For further information about the products we use or about our research programme, or to reach any of the researchers in the lab who are currently running studies:

Phone: +64 (03) 369 2386
Internal phone: 92386

Address (Postal)

Mental Health and Nutrition Research Lab
School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

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