Pregnant volunteers needed for university study on anxiety and depression

Canterbury University's Professor Julia Rucklidge is seeking pregnant women for a new study into the effects of vitamins and minerals on anxiety and depression.

Pregnant women are being sought for a study on anxiety and depression.

The Canterbury University project is studying the effects of vitamins and minerals – such as zinc, magnesium, B12 and vitamin D – on psychological symptoms.

Said professor and recent Women of Influence finalist Julia Rucklidge: “We’re seeing whether or not we can improve people’s mental health by using nutrients that are in your food but at higher levels than you typically get out of eating your fruit and vegetables.”

The study is part of a wider investigation into how vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) supplements could improve low mood or anxiety.

“So, if this affects you or one of your family members, you may be able to participate in one of our studies,” said Prof Rucklidge.

For the pregnancy study, women would receive either the micronutrients or a matching placebo containing iodine, which is recommended for pregnant women. Participants won’t know whether they are on the placebo or not. “Then we follow them for 12 weeks to see what happens to the symptoms that they presented with,” Prof Rucklidge said.

“After the 12 weeks, everyone gets to try the nutrients which gives us the opportunity to also study the effects of these nutrients on the infants.”

Prof Rucklidge said the university’s mental health and nutrition research group has been doing this type of research for 10 years and has published a lot of that research. “So far it’s been very encouraging. All of our studies are pointing in the direction that nutrition is incredibly relevant to mental health.”

•To register your interest in the micronutrient study for pregnant women, visit the university’s website, call 369 2386 or email