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

Authors


  • Trial registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN 12611000460909.

J. Rucklidge, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand. Tel: 64 3 364 2987 ext 7959; Fax: 64 3 364 2181. E-mail: julia.rucklidge@canterbury.ac.nz

Abstract

Objective

To compare two micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) formulas (Berocca™ and CNE™) and assess their impact on emotions and stress related to the 6.3 earthquake on February 22nd 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Methods

91 adults experiencing heightened anxiety or stress 2–3 months following the earthquake were randomized to Berocca™, CNE™ low dose (CNE4), or CNE™ high dose (CNE8), for 28 days and monitored weekly via on-line questionnaires and followed 1 month post-trial. A nonrandomized control group (n = 25) completed questionnaires at baseline and 4 weeks.

Results

All treatment groups experienced significant declines in psychological symptoms (p < .001). CNE™ groups experienced greater reduction in intrusive thoughts as compared with Berocca™ (p = .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 CNE™ post-trial than Berocca™ group. Treated participants had better outcomes on most measures over 4 weeks as compared to controls.

Conclusions

This study supports micronutrients as an inexpensive and practical treatment for acute stress following a natural disaster with a slight advantage to higher doses ACTRN 12611000460909. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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