This vitamin supplement could reduce depression, anxiety

·2 min read

Story at a glance

  • Researchers from the University of Reading found that young adults who took high dose vitamin B6 supplements for a month reported feeling less anxious and depressed.

  • For the study, more than 300 participants were randomly assigned either high doses of Vitamin B6, B12 or a placebo to be taken once a day with food.

  • Participants assigned either B6 or B12 took 50 times the recommended daily dose.

High doses of vitamin B6 could curb anxiety and symptoms of depression, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Reading found that young adults who took high dose vitamin B6 supplements for a month reported feeling less anxious and depressed.

“The functioning of the brain relies on a delicate balance between the excitatory neurons that carry information around and inhibitory ones, which prevent runaway activity,” David Field, lead author from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, said in a news release.

“Recent theories have connected mood disorders and some other neuropsychiatric conditions with a disturbance of this balance, often in the direction of raised levels of brain activity,” Field added.

For the study, more than 300 participants were randomly assigned either high doses of Vitamin B6, B12 or a placebo to be taken once a day with food. Participants assigned either B6 or B12 took 50 times the recommended daily dose.

The recommended daily dose for vitamin B6 for both men and women between the ages of 19 and 50 is 1.6 milligrams.

The biggest difference they found was in participants assigned vitamin B6, which scientists have concluded increases a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.

“Vitamin B6 helps the body produce a specific chemical messenger that inhibits impulses in the brain, and our study links this calming effect with reduced anxiety among the participants,” Field said.

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Field noted that many foods contain Vitamin B6, but the effectiveness of the supplement was linked to the high dose. He cautioned further that the positive results shown in the study were less than the effect of other medical treatments for anxiety and depression.

But he said the benefits of vitamin B6 could enhance a treatment regimen.

“One potential option would be to combine Vitamin B6 supplements with talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to boost their effect,” Field said.

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