Researchers from New Zealand conducted investigated the safety of two commercially available broad-spectrum micronutrient fomulas, administered at doses above the Recommended Dietary Allowances, for the long-term treatment of individuals with psychiatric symptoms. Their findings were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Numerous studies have documented the efficacy of micronutrient (vitamins and minerals)-based interventions when it comes to treating psychiatric problems in the short term. However, the long-term safety of these interventions has not yet been explored.
To address this, the researchers used purchasing records to select participants from ongoing research studies and the community who are on long-term micronutrient treatment (medication-free) for psychiatric problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and/or depression.
Seventeen children and 17 adults underwent blood tests to assess their full blood count, coagulation profile, liver and kidney function, fasting glucose, iron studies, key nutrients and prolactin. They also answered questionnaires that evaluated their psychological/psychiatric functioning. The average length of their treatment was 2.66 years.
The researchers reported that, except for vitamin B12, which was elevated in almost all the participants, 94.6 percent of the blood test results were within the test reference ranges.
Apart from one participant, who was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, they found no other clinically relevant adverse changes in the pre- and post-treatment blood results.
The participants also reported no clinically significant adverse effects.
According to post-treatment psychometrics, 85 percent of the participants were in non-clinical ranges for measures of ADHD, depression, anxiety and stress.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that commercially available micronutrient supplements are safe to use as long-term treatments for psychiatric problems. The benefits they provide outweigh the risks observed in the participants. However, the researchers recommend screening for potential medical problems before initiating treatment.
Rucklidge JJ, Eggleston MJF, Ealam B, Beaglehole B, Mulder RT. AN OBSERVATIONAL PRELIMINARY STUDY ON THE SAFETY OF LONG-TERM CONSUMPTION OF MICRONUTRIENTS FOR THE TREATMENT OF PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 04 June 2019;25(6):613–622. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2018.0352