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Micronutrients could be an alternative treatment for anxiety and depression, say NZ researchers

New Zealand researchers are looking at a new way of treating people with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Scientists from the University of Canterbury believe large and frequent doses of vitamins and minerals - or micronutrients - could be an alternative to conventional medication with fewer side effects.

Christchurch mother Andri Pretorius didn't like how she felt on anti-depressants, so when she heard of the trial using micronutrients, she volunteered.

“I was ok in my own skin,” she said.

“I could live a good life. I got confidence in my ability to keep myself well. That was a big deal for me.”

Julia Rucklidge and other Canterbury University researchers have now embarked on a world first study.

“We're trying to see whether or not we can find alternative ways to treating very common but serious psychiatric problems in our community through the use of vitamins and minerals,” Ms Rucklidge said.

Ms Rucklidge is recruiting for two trials; one for the general public and another especially for pregnant women.

Participants are given pills daily with 40 ingredients you'd find in everyday food but in a far higher concentration, including vitamin Bs, C, and D as well as minerals like zinc, iron, and iodine.

Ms Rucklidge hopes boosting the nutrients that aid the release of chemicals that make us happy will lead to better mental wellbeing.

“If we can achieve that, then we open up an avenue of exploration and opportunity to treat mental illness in a completely different way than we've been doing in the last 60 years.”

University of Canterbury scientists believe vitamins and minerals could be an alternative to conventional medication. Source: 1 NEWS