According to clinical psychologist Julia Ricklidge, nutrition plays a larger role in mental health than modern medicine would have you believe. In Rucklidge’s TED talk, she credits this lack of awareness to the average medical school curriculum, which typically ignores nutrition as an avenue for the treatment of serious illnesses. According to her and her research, many of her patients who suffer from mental illnesses or cognitive dysfunctions like ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder all experienced symptomatic improvement by supplementing their diet with a specially designed micronutrient solution instead of their medications.

Rucklidge suggests that if current medications were actually effective, the prevalence of mental illness should be on a gradual decline with each year. However, the statistics show that mental illness is only continuing to rise. For her, this is a clear signal that a different approach to treatment—perhaps through nutrition—is necessary, especially since, as she says, nutrition is “a safe and viable way to avoid, treat and lessen mental illness.”

Rucklidge conducted a number of studies to determine the efficacy of the micronutrient solution for different conditions. In one study, which consisted of adult participants with ADHD, the solution provided twice as many positive results compared to the placebo control group. It’s also important to note that, following this study, those participants who continued their micronutrient supplement continued to benefit from the treatment more than those who went back to their medications exclusively. In another study conducted by Rucklidge, aimed at measuring the efficacy of the micronutrient solution for depression, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder, she saw similarly positive results.

Rucklidge’s research makes it clear that, for some cases, alternative treatment solutions, like micronutrient supplements, are a better long-term solution than traditional medications. At the least, we can conclude that supplementing traditional depression treatments with a nutrient-rich diet could enhance the results of treatment altogether. Obviously, no treatment is the perfect fit for any one condition or every one circumstance—a little trial and error may be necessary. However, it’s clear that when there are already too few treatment options available, we must try each one as they become available to us, until something clicks.

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