Spotlight TEDx Talk: The search for new treatments for mental illness in micronutrients

Julia Rucklidge at TEDxChristchurch

Julia Rucklidge at TEDxChristchurch

Clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge researches a taboo subject — the use of micronutrients as treatment for mental illness. At TEDxChristchurch, she introduces several studies she and her team have conducted regarding the effect of micronutrients on those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares some studies from colleagues researching other disorders.

While the studies show promise for developing new ways to treat mental illness or protect those vulnerable to developing it, there is still a lot of research to be done, Rucklidge says in her talk:

“There are still many questions remaining between the relationship between mental health and nutrition. What role do genetics play in determining who’s going to respond to nutrients and who needs additional nutrients than what they can get out of their diet? What role does [our gut] play in the absorption of nutrients? … And what role do medications play in determining how effective nutrients are?”

Watch her whole talk below:

Insight from the TEDx office — why we like this talk:

The speaker is an academic with years of experience conducting university-affiliated research. She presents her idea — that micronutrients could lead to a breakthrough in mental illness treatment — by presenting findings from her own (and others’) research, and notes that with all novel findings, confirmation of positive results takes time, and research often presents more questions than answers.


  1. Find treatment for granddaughter she is mad a lot depressed stays with her Mom Grand parents after school is mad a lot 12 years old smart want today know How today help her know her potential and she has a lot of life and love now a lot more she has a lot of potential in front of her

  2. Theresa

    i am a mother of three who has suffered on and of for 15 years with major depression, anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction that I feel is a result from numerous medications taken for these conditions and fibromyalgia that makes me also struggle with chronic pain. I am hoping to get more detailed information from Julia about micronutrients and diet that were used in these studies for me and to prevent my children from falling prey to the medical system that has brought to one of my lowest points in life during the last year.

  3. Shanna Kim

    Good Evening –

    I am a 5th year PhD Clinical Psychology student (graduating in June wAhooO!) who had the fortune of being engaged to a wonderful fiance who studies Microbiology with a passion for infectious disease & the gut biome. Having traveled my own journey through depression & relationship with food, I strongly believe that “food is [be] thy medicine [hippocrates]” & wrote about it as part of my graduate school application.

    I’ve noticed the bio world gaining ground in mental health & the relationship between our gut & health. Thus, it was exciting [I was literally clapping & smiling at the end of this talk] & hopeful to watch someone speak on a topic that is close to my passion [the talk reignited my interest in research]. Just like mindfulness — I think this will take off! Awesome talk Dr. Rucklidge!

  4. As a functional Nutritionist, I am very happy to see evidence of what we know to be a common sense approach to “dis-ease”. Even good quality FOOD alone is not enough to rebalance and heal, But high quality, pure, food state vitamin, mineral herbal formulations and nutraceuticals are changing the lives of my clients daily. You just need to know where to go to get them.

  5. Charles Andrew

    I would like the references to see what the research was. What are the micronutrients and why did it take 15 capsules a day? Everyone wants to try this as is should be harmless.

  6. This is where I order my micronutrients from. They are called EmpowerPlus/Q96. Just click on my name and it will take you to the website.

  7. Julia Rucklidge

    Sorry for not responding earlier to these comments, I didn’t see them!
    I am an independent researcher of the nutrient products that I study and therefore it is important that I don’t advocate for any specific product. Also, I cited a number of different studies and different researchers use different combinations of nutrients. I know, it is complicated. However, if you email me (go to: to find my email), I will send a list of products that I am aware of that have been studied to treat mental illness as well as information on the products that I have studied. It is important though to understand that I do not receive any money from the companies and my research is done independently. Thanks for your interest in my work. Kind regards Julia

  8. Dear Dr. Rucklidge,
    For the last 3 months, I have been researching foods that help prevent, slow (the development of) & possibly reverse either or both the symptoms & causes of dementia & other degenerative & injury-related (PTSD, etc.) neurological & cognitive disorders–for the purpose of publishing the information on our decade-old blog.
    Next to my award-winning investigative (whistle-blowing) report of several years ago (“Slaughterhouse Blues”) on this site, about the practice of including ‘mad cow’-diseased animals in the U.S. food supply, this is probably my most ambitious project & I have been reaching out for expert help to make sure we continue to provide the most accurate information available to our readers & the ‘foodies’ who enjoy our recipes.
    I recently came across your TEDtalk & was thrilled to hear you say what I have been suspecting all along: that nutrition, & micronutrients in particular, would be helpful in warding off some of the mental glitches that loom so scarily–especially when we think about aging.
    Although as a veteran “old-timey” journalist, I would prefer to interview you (via Skype or a Q & A e-mail exchange), our geographical distance brings up a more practical solution, one which, I hope, would be less of an imposition on your time: I’d be most grateful if you could email me a quote & permission to include it in the article I am preparing about–as Hippocrates advised–using food as medicine for the above-mentioned metal problems. It would be great if you could include in your quote a few anecdotal comparisons between treatments with medications (less effective? short term?) and with micronutrients (more effective? longer lasting?) or specific foods (if any).
    Our background: My husband, Lewis Robinson, 83, an antiques & fine art dealer & appraiser by profession; and I (80 year old journalist, investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, travel writer, magazine editor), ‘reinvented’ ourselves when opportunities in our respective careers thinned out & we launched our FRC online site to help young & old improve their health through nutrition. (As octogenarians who avoid pharmaceuticals & so far, thank G-d, use nutrition–& supplements & homeopathics when needed–we do ‘walk our talk.’)
    Lewis taught himself computer & Internet skills & is our site’s ‘blog-master”; while I learned to write for the Web & flatter myself to be its ‘editor in chief.’
    At this time we are both also learning from our newly hired 19 year-old college student “intern” to use Social Media, to help us increase the visibility of
    Thank you for your time & attention.
    Dina Eliash Robinson (i.e. my byline moniker)
    Editor in Chief,

  9. It is wonderful to see what we in the Functional Medicine Community have known for years.

    You CAN affect your mood with nutrients, healthy diet, removal of toxins, exercise, stress management, mind body connections, relationship improvements, meditation, mindfulness practices, yoga.

    Our internal habitat… Is affected by our external habitat and visa versa. And we have so much more power than we even know.

    More Medication is not and has never been the answer .

    What is the cause? When did the person (soul/heart) lose her way? When did she start suffering ? What triggers it? How long has she been suppressing emotion? Is she supported? Does she feel loved with self, with others, in community? What makes her feel alive? What is her passion? Is she doing her purpose? Is she following her bliss? Does she know what she needs? Is she present ? Does she take care of herself? Is she living true to herself?

    I’m so glad that this is getting out to mainstream media .

  10. Cynthia Jones

    Dear Ms. Robinson,
    If you are looking for an informative site in answer to the questions you pose to Dr. Rutlidge, you may wish to try NutritionFacts.Org. Dr. Gregor has been doing vast amounts of research into the connection between health and nutrition for quite a few years. His publication concerning the link between Alzheimer’s disease and serum cholesterol levels is, in my opinion, truly fascinating.
    Best regards,
    Cynthia Jones

  11. Jennifer Henderson

    I’m glad to see more research behind micronutrients for mental health. Hardy Nutritionals has been doing this a long time, and its great to see their formulations and their predecessor formulations doing so well.

  12. Terry Diane Herd

    Wonderful talk and research. I pray the proponents of healthy nutrition to cure our physical and mental health don’t land up in the loony bin like Dr Zimmelweis. I live in Durban, South Africa and am also most interested in obtaining micro nutrients and will e-mail Dr Rucklidge. God bless. Terry.

  13. Jenn Henderson

    The micronutrients studied have helped my ADHD son greatly. We get them from Hardy Nutritionals.

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