Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Sabrina P. Trudo

Committee Member

Jennifer Becnel

Second Committee Member

Aubree Hawley


mental health, micronutrient deficiencies, micronutrient supplementation, young adults


Mental health in the United States is at an all-time low with 21% of adults 18+ suffering from depression or anxiety. When compared with other categories, emerging adults (18-25 years old) have the highest prevalence of mental health disorders at 30%. Young adults face an inordinate amount of stress given the COVID-19 pandemic, being in a unique developmental stage, experiencing new relationships, and transitioning from high school to their professional lives. Vitamins and minerals have roles in neurobiochemistry and have been investigated for effects on mental health with mixed results. Few studies factor in the unique emerging adult developmental stage or the potential influence of excessive body weight, which is associated with poor psychosocial measures. The purpose of this project is to investigate whether multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplementation lowers measures of negative psychosocial functioning. To explore this, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial was done to compare the effects of MVM supplementation on mental health measures to those with no supplementation. One hundred and thirty-six young adults recruited by body mass index (BMI) completed the study after being randomly assigned to take a MVM supplement or placebo for 30 days. Participants completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Single Item for Self-Esteem (SISE), the Abbreviated Dysregulation Inventory (ADI), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) at baseline and again at the completion of the study. Data was analyzed using Independent Samples T-Test of change scores to determine if MVM supplementation improved psychological function in young adults compared with placebo, and whether the effect was more likely in those with overweight/obese BMI. Mean change score for the BAI (anxiety) was 5.42 (SD = 8.05) for the MVM group versus 2.05 (SD=6.79) for the placebo group, indicating that the MVM improved scores more so than placebo (P = 0.003). MVM supplementation did not have an effect on measures of depression, dysregulation, self-esteem, or perceived stress. Likewise, there was no difference in response based on BMI. MVM supplementation may be a simple, practical, and cost-effective strategy to lower symptoms of anxiety in young adults.