Are Multivitamins the New Antidepressants?

A study carried out by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has shown a link between decreased anxiety levels and multivitamin supplements. The research into nutrition and anxiety was being carried out before the category 7 earthquake shook the country over a year ago. The participants, who had their anxiety levels measured before the trial was started, were again tested 2 weeks after the earthquake. Both control group and those taking the supplements had the same amount of loss suffered from the quake. But those on the multivitamins showed a 76% decrease in anxiety levels after the 2 week period. The control group had only a 13% decrease in their symptoms.

Over 39 million prescriptions for antidepressants were released last year for patients suffering from depression and anxiety. Similar research however, has suggested that a good healthy diet may be beneficial for mental health. B vitamins, for example, help to manufacture dopamine, the feel good chemical in the brain that is responsible for our moods and state of happiness. It is found naturally in foods such as beef, liver, nuts and avocados. The multivitamin tested by the New Zealand study included 16 minerals as well as 14 vitamins. Dr Julia Rucklidge, a lead consultant on the study said, “More research needs to be carried out to specify how each nutrient plays its role but the study suggests that those suffering with mental illnesses or anxiety need more nutrients than healthy people.”

Perhaps it is commonsense that those who are suffering from some kind of mental illness may also let their lifestyle affect them, in that they do not eat properly or take care of themselves as they have other things to worry about. It may just be a fact that they are lacking these vital nutrients in the first place and the supplements are not adding to a well stocked body but replacing depleted supplies. Until more research is carried out we will not know for sure.