Micronutrient therapy for negative adolescent behaviours

It is a transformational time for our understanding of mental health disorders. They are no longer considered merely a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitter function but rather a broader interplay of factors which affect brain function.1

Many emotional symptoms are in part the result of inflammation, gut dysbiosis, oxidative stress and impaired mitochondrial energy function. These factors are important to recognise because mood and behavior modulation can be grounded in nutrient treatment and lifestyle changes. 1

Large population studies have reported that those who consume healthier whole food diets consisting of plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts, experience better mental health. This is true for both healthy people and those with diagnosed disorders.1

In the treatment of antisocial and negative adolescent behaviour, there has been an increasing number of clinical trials which support the use of micronutrient treatment for reducing offending behaviours. 2

In a recent 16-week open label trial involving males aged 4-14yrs who displayed ongoing threatening and aggressive tendencies for at least six months, micronutrient therapy consisting of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 (both Pyridoxine hydrochloride and Pyridoxal-5 phosphate), Vitamin E, Biotin, Chromium, Selenium and Zinc was administered. Plasma Zinc, plasma Copper, Copper/Zinc ratio and urinary hydroxyhemopyrroline-2-one (HPL) were also measured at baseline, and upon conclusion of the trial. Forty-five percent of participants were identified as being deficient or marginally deficient in plasma Zinc with a further 35% in the lowest end of the reference range. HPL levels were also elevated for all participants at baseline. 2

Changes in verbally and physically aggressive behaviours were measured using a variety of scales at baseline, eight weeks, endpoint and at 4-6months post completion. The results showed that micronutrient therapy significantly improved parent-reported threatening and aggressive behaviours; family functioning and Health-Related Quality of Life in these young men.2

  1. Kaplan BJ, Rucklidge JJ, Romijn A, McLeod K. The emerging field of nutritional mental health: Inflammation, the microbiome, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial function. Clin Psychol Sci. 2015;3(6):964-980. doi:10.1177/2167702614555413
  2. Hambly JL, Francis K, Khan S, et al. Micronutrient Therapy for Violent and Aggressive Male Youth: An Open-Label Trial. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017;XX(Xx):cap.2016.0199. doi:10.1089/cap.2016.0199