Effects of Dietary Micronutrient Supplementation on the Development of Emotionality and Anxiety in a Normal Rat Population
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
There is a growing body of research into the effects of micronutrients on human mental health. There is evidence that multi-ingredient formulas are beneficial especially in relation to serious mental health disorders such as mood and anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders. However there is almost no scientific research which looks at the effects of these formulas in an animal population. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a micronutrient formula, EMPowerplus, on anxiety behaviour in rats, and whether there is a relationship between dose and anxiolytic effect. In order to investigate this 40 male and 40 female rats received a diet consisting of either 0%, 1.25%, 2.5% or 5% EMP+ from when they were weaned (post natal day 30) until the end of testing 141 days later. Animals were tested in a Y maze, a light-dark emergence box and an open field at mid-adulthood (PND 136-138) and late adulthood (PND 186-188). Results found that animals receiving the 5% supplemented diet occupied the centre squares the most, occupied the corner squares the least and ambulated the most in the open field compared to the other experimental groups and control groups. No significant differences were found in the Y maze or Light-dark box. Animals were found to display more anxiety-like behaviour at time 2 than at time 1 regardless of receiving a supplemented diet or not. Overall a higher dose of EMP+ was associated with the greatest reduction in anxiety related behaviour. Due to the impact of the September 4th, 2010 Canterbury Earthquake caution should be taken when interpreting these results.