The Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group at Canterbury University was brought to our attention because of this short clip (also inserted below) highlighting a research project involving micronutrients and the possible impact these have on alleviating depression in humans. We noticed that there was no mention of animal models, so we got in touch with the group to find out more!
When we asked if this research was based on animal models, a member of the research group said:
“We don't conduct any studies on animals within our lab - or do any animal testing prior to receiving human ethical approval, and therefore all of the research that comes out of our lab is human-relevant.”
This is fantastic news as this is the kind of research we advocate – research that is species specific and humane. We focus a lot on what we are against, but we want to start making more of an effort to show you all what research looks like that we agree with. The human-relevant research conducted by the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group appears to be both scientifically sound and humane.
The future of human health research is lab animal free and we’re excited to see what human-relevant research can lead to!
The studies currently underway on depression include:
- The Nutrients for Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression (NoMAD) Trial
The aim of this study is to find out if micronutrients have any effect on reducing the signs of depression in humans. The researchers have made it clear that medications work for some people and can save lives, but supplements containing micronutrients could be a less risky option to try out first in some cases. Find out more here.
- The NUTRIMUM Study
The aim of this study is to find out if a vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) supplement can improve low mood and anxiety in pregnant women. Find out more here.
The above studies will produce data that is relevant to humans, which is far better than any non-human animal model could ever achieve.
Human-relevant research isn’t a new concept for The Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group. Examples of past human-relevant research conducted by Research Group (including work from other researchers):
Mood disorders/emotional dysregulation:
- Kaplan, B. J., Simpson, J. S. A., Ferre, R. C., Gorman, C. P., McMullen, D. M., & Crawford, S. G. (2001). Effective mood stabilization with a chelated mineral supplement: An open-label trial in bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(12), 936-944.
- Popper, C. W. (2001). Do vitamins or minerals (apart from lithium) have mood-stabilising effects? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(12), 933-935. https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/article/pages/2001/v62n12/v62n1203.aspx
- Kaplan, B. J., Crawford, S. G., Gardner, B., & Farrelly, G. (2002). Treatment of mood lability and explosive rage with minerals and vitamins: two case studies in children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 12(3), 205-219.
- Rucklidge, J. J. (2009). Successful treatment of OCD with a micronutrient formula following partial response to CBT: A case study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23: 836–840.
- Rucklidge, J. J., Johnstone, J., Harrison, R., & Boggis, A. (2011). Micronutrients reduce stress and anxiety following a 7.1 earthquake in adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Psychiatry Research, 189, 281-287. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2011.06.016
- Mehl-Madrona, L., Leung, B., Kennedy, C., Paul, S. & Kaplan, B. J. (2010). A naturalistic case-control study of micronutrients versus standard medication management in autism. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 20(2):95-103. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20415604
- Rucklidge, J. J., & Harrison, R. (2010). Successful treatment of Bipolar Disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: A case study. CNS Spectrums, 15(5):289-295.
- Rucklidge, J. J., Taylor, M. R., Whitehead, K. A. (2011). Effect of micronutrients on behaviour and mood in adults with ADHD: Evidence from an 8-week open label trial with natural extension. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15(1), 79-91.
- Rodway M, Vance A, Watters A, Lee H, Bos E, Kaplan BJ (2012). Efficacy and cost of micronutrient treatment of childhood psychosis. BMJ Case Rep. 2012 Nov 9;2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4543964/
- Kaplan, B. J., Isaranuwatchai, W., & Hoch, J. S. (2017). Hospitalization cost of conventional psychiatric care compared to broad-spectrum micronutrient treatment: literature review and case study of adult psychosis. Int J Ment Health Syst, 11, 14. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13033-017-0122-x
- Harrison, R., Rucklidge, J. J., & Blampied, N. (2013). Use of micronutrients attenuates cannabis and nicotine abuse as evidenced from a reversal design: A case study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(2), 1-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23909004
- Rucklidge, J. J., Frampton, C., Gorman, B., & Boggis, A. (2014). Vitamin-mineral treatment of ADHD in adults: A double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 204, 306-315. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.132126
- Lothian, J. A, Blampied, N., & Rucklidge, J. J. (2016). Effect of Micronutrients on Insomnia in Adults: A Multiple-Baseline Design. Clinical Psychological Science. http://cpx.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/21/2167702616631740.abstract
- Kaplan BJ, Leaney C, Tsatsko E (2016). Micronutrient treatment of emotional dyscontrol following traumatic brain injury: A case study. Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health, 4(5): 1078. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327230704