Micronutrient & Dietary Supplement Research

Discover the latest research in micronutrients and dietary supplements

Adjunctive Treatment of Psychotic Disorders with Micronutrients

Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine


Objective: To evaluate the effect of micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) on adult psychosis when added to conventional medications by using a placebo-controlled randomized design with a 1-month open-label run-in.

Design: Longitudinal comparison study following a randomized, controlled trial that had failed because participants declined to undergo randomization.

Setting/Locations: Rural primary care and psychiatry clinic in northern New England (town of 16,000 people).

Participants: People older than age 18 years diagnosed with a psychotic disorder who were receiving medications.

Intervention: Fifty consecutive clients seen in 1 month’s time were invited to participate; 19 completed a 1-month open-label phase of the addition of a micronutrient to their medication regimen; all 19 then withdrew rather than risk randomization to a placebo. This finding itself was important, so the study was restructured to compare the response of those 19 patients during 24 months of micronutrients + medication to the response of the 31 people who declined participation, enriched by an additional 28 consecutive patients recruited over the second month of the study. This yielded a total of 59 patients who received medication without micronutrients.

Outcome measures: All clients were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale and the Clinical Global Impression scale at study baseline and after 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months. Psychosis was confirmed with clinical interview by using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision, criteria. All participants had normal physical examinations and laboratory studies.

Results: Outcomes were similar for both groups until 15 months, although the micronutrient group used significantly less antipsychotic medication throughout that time ( p < 0.001). At 15 months, the micronutrients + medication group exhibited significantly fewer symptoms than the medication-only group, a difference that was even stronger at 24 months.

Conclusions: Micronutrients may appear to be a beneficial long-term, adjunctive strategy for people with psychotic disorders, allowing for smaller doses of medication to achieve the same effectiveness with fewer side effects.

Hospitalization cost of conventional psychiatric care compared to broad-spectrum micronutrient treatment

Bonnie J. Kaplan, Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, and Jeffrey S. Hoch
International Journal of Mental Health Systems


Background: Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, with mental health treatment amongst the most expensive, especially when hospitalization is involved. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, one in five Canadians is living with a mental disorder in any given year, at an annual cost of $50 billion. In light of this societal burden, alternative approaches are being evaluated, such as brief psychotherapy by phone, peer support, and, as part of the emerging field of nutritional mental health, treatment with micronutrients (minerals and vitamins). Effectiveness of micronutrients has been demonstrated for many types of psychiatric symptoms, in about 45 studies of formulas that are either multinutrient (e.g., several B vitamins) or broad-spectrum (usually over 20 minerals and vitamins). Although this literature demonstrates therapeutic benefits, the potential economic impact of micronutrient treatment has been evaluated in only one case study of childhood psychosis.

Methods: The current case study was initiated to evaluate mental health-related hospitalization costs from 1997 to 2003 for a female adult diagnosed with various mood and psychotic symptoms. She was treated for the first 5 years with conventional methods and then subsequently with a broad-spectrum micronutrient formula.

Results: The patient’s annual mental health hospitalization costs during conventional treatment averaged $59,864 across 5 years (1997–2001), with a peak annual cost of about $140,000. Since transitioning to broad-spectrum micronutrients, she has incurred no provincial hosp

Conclusion: Further exploration of the treatment of mental health problems with broad-spectrum micronutrient formulas has the potential to make two significant contributions: improved mental health, and decreased costs for governments.

An Individualized Approach to Treatment-resistant Bipolar Disorder: A Case Series

Michael I. Gurevich, MD and Cassandra L. Robinson, MS, LPN
EXPLORE July/August 2016, Vol. 12, No. 4


Objective: Determine retrospectively if individualized, integrative treatment strategies applied while withdrawing pharmaceuticals were beneficial and safe among a TRBD clinic population.

Method: A chart review was performed for six adult patients, treated in a private psychiatric practice. Data were collected regarding psychiatric diagnosis, hospitalizations, medications, side effects, substance abuse, and applied treatments.

Results: Using individualized, integrative psychiatric treatment methods, the majority of medications were eliminated. Long-term remission was attained in all cases, defined as clinical stability with no discernable symptoms of bipolar disorder for at least one year.

Conclusions: Applying an integrative treatment approach, and eliminating most medications, provided lasting resolution of symptoms and side-effects in a selected sample of TRBD outpatients. These data may provide the basis for future randomized, controlled trials.

Micronutrient Treatment of Emotional Dyscontrol Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Bonnie J. Kaplan, Caroline Leaney, and Ekaterina Tsatsko
Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health


Introduction: Emotional dyscontrol following traumatic brain injury (TBI) impairs social relationships and employability. Micronutrients (minerals, vitamins) stabilize emotional lability in psychiatric patients, and various individual nutrients have been used to treat experimental brain injury in laboratory animals in the acute phase. However, the current case report appears to be the first documentation of micronutrients resulting in normalization of emotion regulation in a long-standing brain injury in a human.

Case presentation: A broad-spectrum formula of micronutrients was evaluated in a 35-year-old male who had incurred a severe TBI eight years previously. Resolution of most post-TBI symptoms was achieved during those eight years, but not his episodic loss of emotional control, which psychiatrists evaluated as being permanent. The trial of micronutrients began after five weeks of baseline symptom monitoring with a mood stability scale. By three months mood stability had improved markedly according to data submitted by two raters (the patient and his clinician) who were blind to each other’s evaluations. Data collection continued for one year, showing significant improvement (p<.0001), at which time the patient reported that his emotional control had returned to his pre-TBI level. The improvements led to his establishing his own business and improving his family relationships.

Conclusions: Micronutrient treatment resulted in resolution of this patient’s longstanding post-TBI emotional dyscontrol. Broadspectrum micronutrient formulas are showing benefit for the treatment of mood lability in various types of psychiatric patients; this report indicates there is also potential value in using them for the emotional dyscontrol found in post-TBI patients.

A randomized trial of nutrient supplements to minimize psychological stress after a natural disaster

Kaplan BJ, Rucklidge JJ, Romijn AR
Psychiatry Research, August 30, 2015, Volume 228, Issue 3, Pages 373–379


After devastating flooding in southern Alberta in June2013, we attempted to replicate a New Zealand randomised trial that showed that micronutrient (minerals, vitamins) consumption after the earthquakes of 2010–11 resulted in improved mental health. Residents of southern Alberta were invited to participate in a study on the potential benefit of nutrient supplements following a natural disaster. Fifty-six adults aged 23–66 were randomised to receive a single nutrient (vitamin D, n¼17), a few-nutrients formula (B- Complex, n¼21), or a broad-spectrum mineral/vitamin formula (BSMV, n¼18). Self-reported changes in depression, anxiety and stress were monitored for six weeks. Although all groups showed substantial decreases on all measures, those consuming the B-Complex and the BSMV formulas showed significantly greater improvement in stress and anxiety compared with those consuming the single nutrient, with large effect sizes (Cohen’s d range0.76–1.08). There were no group differences between those consuming the B-Complex and BSMV. The use of nutrient formulas with multiple minerals and/or vitamins to minimise stress associated with natural disasters is now supported by three studies. Further research should be carried out to evaluate the potential population benefit that might accrue if such formulas were distributed as a post-disaster public health measure.

Micronutrient treatment for children with emotional and behavioral dysregulation: A Case Series

Kaplan BJ, Hilbert P, Tsatsko E
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2015, 9:240 doi:10.1186/s13256-015-0735-0


Introduction: In clinical studies of adults and children, broad-spectrum micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) have proven beneficial for improving mood regulation and attention. We report here pilot work whose primary objective was to evaluate the feasibility of studying micronutrient treatment in school-aged children with emotional and behavioral problems. Issues examined included feasibility of participant recruitment from a culturally diverse population, probability of sample retention for a 12-week trial, acceptability of the outcome measures, supplement adherence, as well as trends in treatment benefit.

Case Presentation: The families of two boys (ages 5 and 6) and one girl (age 14) were invited to participate in a 12-week pilot trial of micronutrients carried out during the summer months. All children were enrolled in the private school at which future research was being considered. During the previous school year, all three had been extremely difficult to educate due to their inability to pay attention and learn, as well as their behavior problems. Although the two younger children had not been formally diagnosed, parents and teachers provided reports of hyperactivity and inability to focus on education in the classroom. The oldest child was often aggressive, and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.

All three children were Hispanic and spoke both Spanish and English. For 12 weeks, after signing consent forms, the children’s parents provided weekly ratings on the parent-report Child Mania Rating Scale; the children consumed the micronutrient formula daily and provided a daily rating of how they felt. The parent ratings revealed significantly improved behavior, p = .002. Children’s ratings approached the ideal level of 7, indicating “happy” self-reports. Parent interviews confirmed the weekly scores. Several feasibility questions were answered: all three children completed the 12-week trial, all scores were completed by parents and children, adherence to the protocol was excellent, and no adverse reactions emerged.

Conclusions: Family physicians and pediatricians are often confronted with the challenge of improving the lives of families whose children experience school crises due to emotional and behavioral dysregulation. Three children, who participated in pilot work to determine the feasibility of further investigations, experienced impressive changes that clearly warrant both research and clinical exploration.

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