Nutritional supplements help during and after earthquakes

Nutritional supplements help during and after
earthquakes, trial finds

August 9, 2012

supplements have been found to help people during
earthquakes and in the stress periods after earthquakes,
according to a significant University of Canterbury

Associate professor Neville Blampied, who headed
the clinical trial, also found benefits could be more marked
for people with an existing psychological

Blampied has just returned from giving a paper
on the trial at the International Congress of Psychology in
Cape Town. The event attracted had 5500 delegates from 103

"Natural disasters such as earthquakes expose
whole communities to prolonged, severe distress and trauma.
While in the long-term many people display resilience to
such stress, almost all may be adversely affected in the
short-term, and a minority (up to 30 percent in some
disasters) may experience long-term adverse consequences,"
Blampied said today following his return to the University
of Canterbury (UC).

The stress from a disaster not only
affected individuals, but also families, community groups,
and local and regional organisations and institutions, with
stress at one level interacting with stress and distress at
other levels, with the potential for moderate harmful

"The series of catastrophic earthquakes that
occurred in Christchurch, last year and in 2010 provided us
with an opportunity to study the impact of nutritional
supplements on resilience.

"Our first study involved 33
adults all with a pre-quake diagnosis of attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder and baseline measures of depression,
anxiety, and stress. At the time of the September 4, 2010
earthquake half the participants were taking a nutritional
supplement Those taking the supplement showed reduced levels
of anxiety, depression, and stress in the immediate
post-quake period."

Blampied said their second UC study
involving 78 people occurred two months following the
February 22 earthquake last year. Again those taking
nutritional supplements showed significant reductions in
stress, anxiety, and trauma symptoms over the

Nutritional supplements had the potential to
enhance resilience following a disaster, he said. The
supplements contained 14 vitamins, 16 minerals, three amino
acids and three antioxidants. They had also shown in other
international studies to benefit bipolar disorder, autism
and ADHD symptoms.

Blampied represented the New Zealand
Psychological Society in Cape Town and also the executive
board of the International Association of Applied


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