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Taiora Trial: Balancing Emotions in Adolescents with micronutrients

05 December 2023

Are vitamins and minerals (taiora) helpful for managing emotions in teens? The Taiora Trial investigates mental health and nutrition research. It looks at using micronutrients to balance emotions in adolescents. Learn more about the Taiora Trial.

What are micronutrients?

Micronutrients include the following:

  • Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin
  • Folate, biotin, Pantothenic acid (all the Bs)
  • Vitamins D, K, E and A
  • Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous
  • Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc
  • Selenium, Copper, Manganese
  • Chromium, Molybdenum, Potassium

Taiora (micronutrients) are essential for all brain activity including the production of neurotransmitters.

Evidence suggests that vitamins and minerals play an important role in hauora hinengaro (mental health) difficulties and that providing micronutrients can reduce symptom severity (Rucklidge et al 2021)

What is the evidence?

Recent research has investigated the role of digestion and the gut on the development of mental health issues. Individuals with poor hauora hinengaro (mental health) continue to report nutrient-poor diets when compared to healthy controls (Kaplan et al, 2015; Davidson & Kaplan, 2012).

Initial case studies using micronutrients to treat a range of disorders showed benefit in single case research designs (Kaplan et al, 2002; Popper, 2002; Rucklidge, 2009; Rodway et al, 2012).

More recent trials have demonstrated efficacy of micronutrients in improving emotion regulation, reducing stress and improving attention, concentration and hyperactivity symptoms and improving insomnia with limited side   effects (Rucklidge et al, 2011, 2014, 2018, 2021; Popper, 2014; Lothian et al, 2016, Johnstone et al., 2020).

Further research is needed to explore the potential of micronutrients as a treatment specifically for symptoms of emotion dysregulation in young people.


What is the trial?

150 young people will be randomised to a placebo or treatment condition.

The treatment condition will involve taking 12 multinutrient capsules per day (4 pills, 3 times a day) for 8 weeks.

The trial will also include a 2-week initial baseline phase, where no treatment or placebo will be offered.

Participants will complete initial questionnaires and weekly monitoring of their symptoms.

Participation in the trial is all conducted over the internet. Clinical oversight is provided throughout the trial via online meetings with a psychologist.

After the trial, all participants will be offered micronutrients for a further 8 weeks in an open label phase. There is no cost to participating. All product will be provided free of charge during the trial and open label.


Can I participate?


  1. Between 12 and 17 years,
  2. Regular access to the internet,
  3. Able to participate in research and take as many as 12 capsules/day with food,
  4. Be experiencing functionally impairing emotion dysregulation which cannot be better accounted for by a medical condition,
  5. Living in Aotearoa New Zealand,
  6. Be able to read and write English,
  7. Be attending school.


  1. Neurological disorders involving brain or other central function (e.g., intellectual disability, epilepsy, MS, narcolepsy), some physical metabolic conditions or other major psychiatric condition requiring hospitalization (e.g. significant mood disorder with associated suicidality, substance dependence or psychosis)
  2. Any serious medical condition,
  3. Anyone known to be allergic to the ingredients of the intervention,
  4. Any other medication with primarily central nervous system activity, including psychotropic medication (e.g. SSRIs, tricyclics, benzodiazepines). Participants must have been off of these medications for a minimum of four weeks prior to the trial. Participants are not encouraged to come off of a medication in order to participate in the trial. All exclusions will be reviewed by study physician.



Check out the study website: or email

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