Can nutrients treat mental illness?

Professor Julia Rucklidge

Professor Rucklidge will discuss data that shows an alarming picture of food choices serving as risk factors for all kinds of psychiatric problems. Her talk entitled ‘What if…..nutrients could treat mental illness?’ will challenge current treatment regimes for mental disorders and suggest an alternative course of action.

Taking the concept of “you are what you eat” to its extreme, Professor Rucklidge will show that rates of mental illness are on the rise despite the advent of medications and other therapies over the last 50 years. She will discuss how scientists have been uncovering an uncomfortable truth: What we eat is affecting our mental health.

Professor Rucklidge’s interests in nutrition and mental illness grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with significant psychiatric illness. In the last decade, she has run clinical trials investigating the role of broad-spectrum micronutrients in the expression of mental illness, including PTSD associated with the Canterbury earthquakes.

Currently Professor of Clinical Psychology in UC’s psychology department, Professor Rucklidge is originally from Toronto, Canada. She studied at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Calgary before completing a two year post-doctoral fellowship investigating gender differences in ADHD adolescents at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

At UC, Professor Rucklidge teaches child psychology and recently introduced the topic of Mental Health and Nutrition into the wider psychology programme.

Professor Rucklidge’s talk is the latest in UC’s ‘What if Wednesdays’ series of twice-monthly free public lectures that contribute to the community by taking a thought leadership role. This topic is being repeated due to popular demand and includes updated research and new angles.

The lecture will be held in C1 Lecture Theatre, Central Lecture Block, University of Canterbury, Arts Road, Christchurch at 7pm 24 June. Register online for this free event at