Multinutrients for the treatment of psychiatric symptoms in clinical samples: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Jeanette M. Johnstone, Andrew Hughes, Joshua Z. Goldenberg, Amy R. Romijn, Julia J. Rucklidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This systematic review and meta-analysis focused on randomized controlled trials (RCT) of multinutrients consisting of at least four vitamins and/or minerals as interventions for participants with psychiatric symptoms. A systematic search identified 16 RCTs that fit the inclusion criteria (n = 1719 participants) in six psychiatric categories: depression, post-disaster stress, antisocial behavior, behavioral deficits in dementia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) was used to rate the evidence base. Significant clinical benefit was assessed using minimal clinically important differences (MIDs). Due to heterogeneity in participants, multinutrient formulas, outcome measures, and absence of complete data, only the Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) category was eligible for meta-analyses. In ADHD populations, statistically and clinically significant improvements were found in global functioning, Mean Difference (MD)-3.3, p = 0.001, MID-3.26; Standardized Mean Difference (SMD)-0.49 p = 0.001 MD-0.5), clinician ratings of global improvement (MD-0.58, p = 0.001, MID-0.5) and ADHD improvement (MD-0.54, p = 0.002, MID-0.5), and clinician (but not observer) measures of ADHD inattentive symptoms (MD-1.53, p = 0.05, MID-0.5). Narrative synthesis also revealed a pattern of benefit for global measures of improvement, for example: in autism, and in participants with behavioral deficits in dementia. Post-natural disaster anxiety and the number of violent incidents in prison populations also improved. Broad-spectrum formulas (vitamins + minerals) demonstrated more robust effects than formulas with fewer ingredients. This review highlights the need for robust methodology-RCTs that report full data, including means and standard deviations for all outcomes-in order to further elucidate the effects of multinutrients for psychiatric symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3394
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Meta-analysis
  • Minerals
  • Mood
  • Multinutrients
  • Psychiatric symptoms
  • Systematic review
  • Vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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