Shaken but unstirred? Effects of micronutrients on stress and trauma after an earthquake: RCT evidence comparing formulas and doses

Abstract

Objective: To compare two micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) formulas (BeroccaTM and CNETM) and assess their impact on emotions and stress related to the 6.3 earthquake on February 22nd 2011 in Christchurch, NZ. Method: 91 adults experiencing heightened anxiety or stress 2-3 months following the earthquake were randomized to Berocca™, CNETM low dose (CNE4), or CNETM high dose (CNE8), for 28 days and monitored weekly via on-line questionnaires and followed one month post-trial. A non-randomized control group (n=25) completed questionnaires at baseline and 4 weeks.

Result: All treatment groups experienced significant declines in psychological symptoms (p < .001). CNETM groups experienced greater reduction in intrusive thoughts as compared with BeroccaTM (p = 0.05), with no group differences on other measures of psychological symptoms. However, CNE8 group reported greater improvement in mood, anxiety, and energy (p < .05) with twice as many reporting being “much” to “very much” improved and five times more likely to continue taking CNETM post-trial than Berocca™ group. Treated participants had better outcomes on most measures over 4 weeks as compared to controls.

Conclusion: This study supports micronutrients as an inexpensive and practical treatment for acute stress following a natural disaster with a slight advantage to higher doses.