Use of Micronutrients Attenuates Cannabis and Nicotine Abuse as Evidenced From a Reversal Design: A Case Study
Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Journal of psychoactive drugs
(Impact Factor: 1.1).
04/2013; 45(2):168-78. DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2013.785840
Prior research shows that micronutrients, particularly amino acids, can assist individuals with substance dependence to quit various drugs of abuse, including cannabis, alcohol, and cocaine. As part of a wider investigation of the impact of micronutrients (mostly vitamins and minerals) on psychiatric symptoms, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety, we observed that many participants reduced or eliminated use of alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis. One case using a single-case reversal (off-on-off-on-off) design is presented and shows not only on-off control of psychiatric symptoms as micronutrients are consumed or withdrawn, but also simultaneous on-off use of cannabis and cigarettes, despite not directly targeting this substance use as part of the treatment protocol. This case adds to a growing body of research supporting the use of micronutrients in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and suggests it may extend to substance dependence. Micronutrients, by assisting with mood regulation and reductions in anxiety, may assist with successful cessation of drug use. Alternatively, they may directly impact on the brain reward circuitry believed to be involved in the expression of addictions, thereby providing the appropriate precursors and cofactors necessary for adequate neurotransmitter synthesis. This case should continue to stimulate researchers to consider the role of nutrients, in particular vitamins and minerals, in drug treatment programs and encourage more rigorous trials.
Available from: online.liebertpub.com
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ABSTRACT: Current psychotropic medications for childhood bipolar spectrum disorders (BPSD) are associated with significant adverse events. As nutrients play an important role in physical and mental health, they may be useful in treating mood disorders with few side-effects. This open-label study explored the feasibility of testing therapeutic effects of a multinutrient supplement, EMPowerplus™ (EMP+), for pediatric BPSD.
EMP+ was started at one capsule t.i.d. and escalated to a goal of four capsules t.i.d., which eight children attained. Four (4) of these increased to the maximum dose, five capsules t.i.d. Mood symptoms were assessed seven times over 8 weeks.
Ten (10) children, age 6-12 with BPSD, were enrolled in 6.5 months. Seven (7) participants completed the full trial. Three (3) dropped out due to palatability and/or adherence issues.
Mean medication adherence was 91%. With one-tailed nonparametric Fisher's randomization tests, intent-to-treat analyses demonstrated a 37% decrease in depression scores (p<0.06) and a 45% decrease in mania scores (p<0.01) from the start of treatment through final visit, suggesting improvement and possible treatment response. Study completers demonstrated significant decreasing trends in both depression and mania scores from baseline to final visit (p<0.05). Side-effects were minor and transient, mostly temporary gastric discomfort.
Future randomized, placebo-controlled trials of EMP+ are warranted and feasible.
Available from: Bonnie J Kaplan
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ABSTRACT: Ingesting minerals and vitamins in combination makes physiological sense, and research on the use of broad-spectrum formulations for psychiatric symptoms is increasing rapidly. This review covers formulas consisting of at least four vitamins and/or minerals and includes four experimental designs: randomized controlled trials, open-label trials, case-control studies and case studies with within-subject crossovers. Nevertheless, there is evidence for the efficacy of micronutrients in the treatment of stress and antisocial behaviors as well as depressed mood in nonclinical and elderly populations. Many reports studied mood changes in healthy populations, making it difficult to generalize to clinical samples. There is also preliminary support for the treatment of autism with micronutrients. However, despite positive preliminary findings, there are less data available to support efficacy of micronutrient formulas in treating bipolar disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse/dependence and no clinical trials have been done with clinically depressed or anxious patient samples, psychosis or eating disorders.
Available from: Jeanette M Johnstone
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ABSTRACT: To date there has been no research investigating moderators of response to micronutrient treatment of mental illness, specifically baseline nutrient levels.
We conducted analyses of data from a randomized placebo-controlled trial (RCT) of 80 adults (≥16years) with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), whereby participants were treated acutely (8weeks) with micronutrients or placebo followed by an open-label (OL) phase of 8weeks whereby all participants received micronutrients. To ensure all participants had been exposed to the micronutrients for 8weeks, only those 64 who had adhered to the treatment protocol and completed 8weeks on nutrients were included in the data analysis: 34 from the group that had been randomized to the micronutrient arm, and 30 from the group that had been randomized to the placebo group and hence had only received nutrients in the OL phase. Six outcomes were examined: change in ADHD symptoms (self/clinician), ADHD responder, Clinical Global Impression Improvement (CGI-I), change in mood, and change in Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). Demographic, developmental and psychiatric history, current clinical characteristics, and baseline nutrient levels were all considered as putative predictors.
There were significant changes in all outcome variables after 8weeks exposure to the micronutrients. Among the nutrients recorded at baseline, substantial deficiencies (27%) were only observed for vitamin D. However, other than an association showing that higher iron at baseline was correlated with higher baseline depression scores, baseline nutrient levels were not correlated with baseline psychiatric variables/current clinical characteristics. Regression analyses revealed that higher baseline ferritin and lower baseline copper and vitamin D levels were associated with a better response to treatment for some but not all outcomes. None of the other nutrient levels were found to be associated with outcome, including zinc, vitamin B12, iron, and folate. There were no childhood risk factors, demographic variables or clinical correlates that contraindicated micronutrient treatment; more severe symptoms at baseline and greater number of developmental risk factors predicted greater treatment response.
Further research looking at nutrients more broadly is required to confirm these initial observations about ferritin, vitamin D and copper; however, the results suggest that serum nutrient levels have limited value for identifying who will respond to treatment.
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