Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group - Psychology Dept - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group


About us

The aim of our research group is to find nutritional interventions that are effective in treating psychiatric/psychological illness. At our lab, we independently test new, groundbreaking multinutrient formulae, probiotics and other natural, beneficial substances. We run studies on many different psychological disorders, including ADHD (in both adults and children), addictions, depression and stress. We use all kinds of different trial designs to test these products, including multiple baseline designs, open label, and the ‘gold standard’ of clinical testing, the randomised, placebo-controlled trial (RCT). We are not employed by the manufacturers of these products; we have no interest in getting a good result for them. All we’re interested in is finding real treatments that work, for the good of people affected by psychological illnesses.

At the moment, our studies are only open to people who are not taking any psychiatric drugs. If you’d like to find out what trials we are running at the moment, or would like to take part, please visit the Studies page. If you’re not eligible for any of our trials, or you just feel as though you’d like a bit of support, please visit the Services page, where we have provided a list of counselling and other relevant services within Christchurch. For information about the products we study, please email

Our research and those of others show that between 60-80% respond to micronutrient treatment – this means many people will benefit but not all. The range of the response can also vary from a small but noticeable change to a substantial change. This research has been done on many different psychiatric conditions, ranging from bipolar disorder to ADHD to anxiety to stress.

All our studies have ethical approval from the University of Canterbury Human Ethics Committee and the Southern Regional Ethics Committee.

Our funding sources include: Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, Gravida, Vic Davis Memorial Trust, the University of Canterbury and a number of private donations.

This research is hard to fund publically. Anyone interested in financially supporting this line of research can make donations to the University Foundation (with tax benefits). Simply go to In the Designation section, click choose Nutrition and Mental Health Research Group. Or you can choose “other” and then in the box provided indicate that you would like to support Dr Julia Rucklidge's research programme on nutrition and mental health.

University of Canterbury ' What If ' seminars

If you want to link now to my 2015 'What if' seminar, you could…

If you are interested in learning more about the research on micronutrients, please watch a TEDx talk Prof Rucklidge delivered on November 1st 2014 in Christchurch:

What If Nutrition Could Treat Mental Illness by Professor Julia Rucklidge (May, 2014)

Alternatively, follow a blog that Prof Bonnie Kaplan and Julia Rucklidge write together:

We also have a facebook page where we post information about new studies:

Please follow us on twitter and you can find out more about upcoming research: @JuliaRucklidge

And for those professionals out there wanting to stay abreast of this field of research, consider joining ISNPR (international Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research): It is currently free to join.

NZ Listener article
The Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group was the cover story in the NZ Listener back in June. Check the article out the “Pills & Ills” (June 2015)