Micronutrients reduce stress, anxiety - study

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 10/08/2011

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Vitamins and minerals have helped reduce post-quake stress and anxiety, a Canterbury University study shows.

Nearly 100 Christchurch residents took part in the two-month trial, which started in May.

A study last year led by the same team tested the effect of micronutrients on people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and found that those taking the micronutrients at the time of the September quake coped better than those not taking them. The study was published in Psychiatry Research.

Lead investigator Associate Professor Julia Rucklidge said the post-February quake study would be able to test the effects on a wider group.

"Although the data is still being analysed for the post-February study, we have established that those people taking the micronutrients are less stressed and anxious than people we followed who did not take the micronutrients."

Deb Batten, 50, who signed up to a micronutrient trial, said she slept less and got stressed about little things after the quake. "Even though we were hardly affected where I live, it was just all the change," she said.

Her daughter started at Avonside Girls' High School this year, which was badly damaged in February. The school has been site-sharing with Burnside High School.

"Before taking the micronutrients, I didn't really want to go out of the house and little things like how bad the roads were just really bugged me."

Batten was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in January, meaning her metabolism was less active, leaving her tired and sometimes feeling depressed. Doctors advised her to take antidepressants, but she refused.

"I really didn't want to be on antidepressants or any other sort of chemical or hormonal stimulant," she said.

"But the [micronutrient] trial really helped me. I honestly felt a big difference within three or four days."

She felt "less weepy and more capable to deal with day-to-day things".

Batten has continued to take micronutrients after finishing the trial about a month ago.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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