Effects of Micronutrients on Anxiety and Stress in Children
• Objective: Examined effects of micronutrients on children with clinically elevated stress and anxiety 23 to 36 months after experiencing a natural disaster (major earthquake).
• Methods: A single-case design allocated 14 children (7 males, 7 females; aged 8-11 years; 10 with formal anxiety-disorder diagnoses) randomly to one, two or three week baselines. Participants then took eight capsules/day of a micronutrient formula (EMPowerplus) during an eight-week open-label trial. Assessment instruments were the Children’s Global Assessment Scale (CGAS), the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED), the Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale (PEDS), and the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS).
• Results: Symptom severity declined slightly in baseline for some children and declined much more during intervention for all children. Effect sizes at end of treatment were -1.40 (RCMAS), -1.92 (SCARED), +1.96 (CGAS) and -2.13 (PEDS). Modified Brinley plots revealed decreases in anxiety and improvements in overall functioning for 10 out of 11 completing participants. Side effects were mild and transient.
• Conclusions: The study provided evidence that dietary supplementation by micronutrients reduces children’s post-disaster anxiety to a clinically significant degree. Future placebo-controlled randomised-controlled trials and treatment-comparison research is recommended to determine if this is true of anxiety in general.