The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health | Julia Rucklidge | TEDxChristchurch

The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health | Julia Rucklidge | TEDxChristchurch

NOTE FROM TED: Please consult with a mental health professional and do not look to this talk for medical advice as the intersection of mental health and nutrition is still an emerging field of study. We’ve flagged this talk for falling outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines because it oversimplifies interpretations of legitimate studies. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here:

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In this critically important talk, clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge explores a range of scientific research, including her own, showing the significant role played by nutrition in mental health or illness.

Julia J Rucklidge, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally from Toronto, she did her training in neurobiology (McGill) and Clinical Psychology (University of Calgary). Her interests in nutrition and mental illness grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with significant psychiatric illness despite receiving conventional treatments for their conditions. For the last 6 years, she has been investigating the role of micronutrients in the expression of mental illness, specifically ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, anxiety and more recently, stress and PTSD associated with the Canterbury earthquakes.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


  1. Katarzyna Kujawa on April 3, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    Soon uk politicians are bringing china system and we will operate with vouchers – like during 2 World War when people had vouchers to get bread !!!! You had no voucher you had nothing, plus vouchers were given just for specific things not for everything so we all in west are going be limited !!!!! West is heading to global control !!

  2. Savannah M. Laurentian on April 3, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    She doesn’t tell you. Don’t look for it in video.

  3. Ji Zim on April 3, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I was given by a doctor Xanax for chronic insomnia. Just to find out that Xanax causes insomnia. I was on it for year’s before I actually decided to research it for myself. Doctor’s will kill you, NEVER trust someone just because they went to school. Do your own research. Wish I would’ve known this before I listened to my doctor.

  4. M on April 3, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Surprise??? I always called it wilful ignorance.

  5. ThisIsSoBad on April 3, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    But this is bad news for the pharmaceutical and for-profit healthcare industry, which is why your research will be ignored or even laughed at.

  6. kundalinirising on April 3, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Not surprising.

  7. Vanessa Feels Love on April 3, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Wow. ❤

  8. Nancy Thomas-Ward M.B.A on April 3, 2022 at 6:48 pm


  9. Melanie McNalley on April 3, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    I gave up pharmaceutical treatment for my mental health. Changed it for micronutrients and real food. I feel so much better and do not miss those side effects at all.

  10. Its_flowering on April 3, 2022 at 6:52 pm


  11. Gayle Parker on April 3, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    the best fast foods are fresh produce

  12. 60+ Health & Wellness on April 3, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Great video…helpful info…thanks.

  13. Lisa Hunstock on April 3, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Such a great talk. Focusing on why it’s so important to eat balanced. Being able to provide oneself and others with a balanced diet however is a cultural technique that must be taught and learned. I find it the most important thing to be able to do right after reading and writing.

  14. Free Minded on April 3, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    I mean do people not read the ingredients on the back of processed packaged foods? Look up the ingredients and their side affects, horrendous… It’s literally changing/destroying your microbiome and creating all sorts of problems. Why would you insist in putting that into your body? There’s plenty of people here in the comments who are living proof of this including myself. My depression and behavioral problems peaked when I was around 13-14 years old and lasted up until I turned 23. I decided enough was enough and went for a change. It’s Important to note that I am constantly learning and researching as I go! Now the changes that I have experienced going from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a Whole Foods diet which includes veggies, nuts, salmon, fruit, grass fed chicken/meat and supplementing with b-12, iodine, iron, magnesium, vit D/k2 have been incredibly life changing!! I noticed my mood becoming more stable, more energy, mental clarity like never before, better in control of my emotions, and barley ever experience depressive episodes or anxiety and those were through the roof!!! I am so glad I never gave into medications back when I was at my worst, I know I would have ended up much worse… I seriously was dealing with such weird and complicated issues going on in my head and hoped and prayed to God it wasn’t something part of me… Well, that would have never changed if I didn’t take matters into my own hands! Now, this change didn’t happen over night.. I struggled and would fall back into eating fast food, soda, bread, cookies etc.. But I kept going at it making sure I stayed consistent with my green juicing. Also drinking celery juice for 3 weeks straight helped a TON in reducing many symptoms. I give thanks to the Medical Medium for many of the stuff I know today I learned from him!!! I can’t wait to keep improving and be able to help those around me, this is the way whether it’s recognized by these medical doctors/scientist or not. I mean can you blame them for not wanting to acknowledge this? It would be a huge loss in revenue for them, there’s no profit in curing people!!!

  15. Suparna on April 3, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Why should this be surprising? It’s an old saying “you are what you eat”.

  16. Sleeve on April 3, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Before you choose to deal with this problem, wouldn’t it be prudent to discover why we are seeing these trends ?
    And what is the correlation, if any, to the current upsurge in the Human Animal’s use of Technology !
    Where for example, it is pointed out by the Netflix Documentary, "Social Dilemma ", by those who chose to leave these technological fields, because they recognize that this modern technology is manipulating the way the Human Animal thinks !
    But more importantly, it is being done by design !
    As a very telling example, some of the creators of this technology, refuse to allow their own children to engage in these devices, until of such an time that their Brains have matured !
    We certainly could be in unexplored region’s where our minds may yet to catch up, and are blinded by the simple concept of not being able to see the Forrest, for the Tree’s ?
    Isn’t it time to discover, if in fact there is a clear line of demarcation, concerning advancements in Technology and the Human Animal’s ability to think ?

  17. Dr Nessima Kaabeche on April 3, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Absolutely brilliant.
    Unfortunately doctors get paid to prescribe so I’m not sure they’ll get behind this great message.
    I’m so glad I’m taking nutrients and mostly eating well

  18. Donna Wong on April 3, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    I have cases with depression, anxiety, ADD and bipolar symptoms…
    I also realized only mental therapies and medication 💊 is less effective and not last longer. Brain and body need mirco nutrients to reduce symptoms and recover the damaged cells, to change their negative state easier and sleep better, to lose weight and improve immunity from.body to soul.
    This speech is very encouraging.

  19. Jeremy Hamel on April 3, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    The ‘Note from TED’ in the description is telling.. I’m so glad this message is getting out!

  20. Egan- First Wellness Health Coach on April 3, 2022 at 6:59 pm


  21. John on April 3, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Not sure why it’s surprising

  22. Phyllis James on April 3, 2022 at 7:05 pm

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  23. Persephone and Co on April 3, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Last summer I got diagnosed with an iron deficiency. Before taking supplements and eating healthier, I was feeling depressed, not wanting to eating and would even have mild hallucinations. I was almost ready to get admitted. Nutrition has helped me a lot and now aside from some depression, I’m okay. I also take vitamin d in the winter.

  24. Cherie Hudson on April 3, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    So is there a considerable higher rate of mental illness in Africa due to nutritional deficiencies? Or any other country that has a high rate of poverty? Is there a higher rate of mental illness in poverty stricken areas over wealthier regions?

  25. Gregory Austin on April 3, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    Great talk and I fully support her ideas and conclusions. I recently started juicing and start each day with a large glass of celery juice.

  26. Emmy Stapleton on April 3, 2022 at 7:13 pm


  27. Monica Thomas on April 3, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    That’s all nice but many influential humans on this planet don’t want the improvements to happen….

  28. Кристина Соколова on April 3, 2022 at 7:14 pm

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  29. Matt McCoy on April 3, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    If you think that’s interesting, keep following the trail and where it’s leading. Why are the most well fed people so nutrient deficient? Because even our ‘healthiest’ and natural produce is nutrient deficient. Why is our produce nutrient deficient? Because the soil works the same way out digestive system does. As she said in the video, the saying “you are what you eat” is not accurate. It should be “you are what you absorb.” The microorganisms (micro biome) in our gut is what pulls the nutrients out of the food we eat so that we can absorb them. Weak microbiome = weak nutrient absorption. The soil works the same way, and studies are showing more and more, the chemicals in synthetic fertilizers, as well as all the pesticides we use in big ag deplete the soil’s microbiome. Leading to nutrient deficient food. Leading to nutrient Deficient people. Why is medicine getting my more advance but human health declining? Check out Dan Kittridge and his non-profit work. Their findings in spinach are mind blowing. This has got to change. And change is coming.

  30. CatherineBenskin on April 3, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    I’m not saying that nutrition isn’t important and helpful but I don’t think you can “nutrition “ away genetics. I have eaten well and fed my children well and we all have mental health issues (5 documented generations) I have tried to go off and it took me longer to get back to where I had been. If my son goes off for 10 days his symptoms return. Yes, nutritional is a very helpful too keep us more functional while on meds but I don’t see we will ever live functional lives off them.

  31. boutong zheng on April 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm

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  32. katier19 on April 3, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    What is the name of the micro-nutrient pills and where do you get them?

  33. maria on April 3, 2022 at 7:22 pm


  34. Holistically Happy with Michelle on April 3, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    *I wish this was common knowledge.*

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  36. Angela Rae on April 3, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    This video is great but how do I find a doctor that will treat my anxiety & depression with micronutrients 1st?

  37. Joan Wyatt on April 3, 2022 at 7:27 pm

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  38. The Mitrovic's on April 3, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    My anxiety is virtually non-existent when I eat a whole food diet. The minute I stray my anxiety symptoms come back.

  39. Abracadabra on April 3, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Fascinating information

  40. Jenova Rain on April 3, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I knocked out dairy, gluten and all processed food from my diet and my mind has never been so clear! My resting BPM is 10 lower than its ever been.

  41. Linda Kristin Johansen on April 3, 2022 at 7:32 pm


  42. Maleah Sveinson on April 3, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    If anyone is wondering what the micronutrient company from southern Alberta is, it’s a company called truehope. There are people with severe bipolar that have been stable with no medication for 25 years on this stuff. I have AuDHD. I take this daily. It helps my anxiety SO much.

  43. Tracie Claiborne on April 3, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    BRAVO!!!! Well said!

  44. Jonathan Nielsen on April 3, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    The point here is that there are underlying causes that can be discovered, and addressed, which removes them and therefore cures the problem. Conventional medicine does not do this, they just give a drug to suppress the symptoms. Which often doesn’t work well and causes side-effects. It does not solve the problem like removing the causes of the problem. It’s functional medicine that does this exploration and finds the underlying causes. Look into functional medicine if you want a cure rather than a drug.

  45. Suparna on April 3, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Why should this be surprising? It’s an old saying “you are what you eat”.

  46. NHẠC DÀNH CHO BẠN on April 3, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    great sharing my dear

  47. Кристина Соколова on April 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm

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  48. ID10T on April 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    This isnt surprising given the state of parenting skills, circa 2022. I know a 30-something year old former coworker that has a 10 year old son who refuses to eat almost anything except cheap top ramen. The kid is multiple pounds overweight, as are both the mom and dad, and they see nothing wrong with feeding the kid top ramen three, four times a day. The ‘nutritious’ meal they serve the kid is frozen or delivery pizza.

    None of them ever eat fruit and their idea of having vegetables or a salad is putting salsa, lettuce and tomatoes on their burritos or tacos. Combine that with the fact both parents consume a minimum of 6 alcoholic drinks per day and it’s not hard to understand the obesity and health problems most people are dealing with these days.

  49. Jonathan Nielsen on April 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    This is zero surprise to those of us who follow functional medicine practitioners like Mark Hyman, Daniel Amen, and Chris Kresser. They’ve been saying this for years. About time conventional medicine caught up to the current science rather than being decades behind.

  50. Ji Zim on April 3, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Okay so I haven’t watched it all yet but how do I get the micronutrients that you’re talking about cuz I definitely need them?