Vitamin B6: Strong ally in fight with depression and anxiety

Taking high doses of vitamin B6 supplements can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression

Jul 20, 2022 - 17:59
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Vitamin B6: Strong ally in fight with depression and anxiety

Researchers measured the effects of high doses of vitamin B6 on young adults and found that they reported feeling less anxious and depressed after taking the pill every day for a month.

The study was published in the journal "Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental" and provides insight into the use of supplements that are thought to modify activity levels in the brain to prevent or treat mood disorders.

Study author David Field from the University of Reading explains that the functioning of the brain relies on "a delicate balance between excitatory neurons, which transmit information, and inhibitory neurons, which prevent activity".

Recent theories link mood disorders and some other neuropsychiatric conditions to a disturbance of this balance, often in the direction of an elevated level of brain activity” - said Field. Scientists have noted that vitamin B6 helps the body produce a specific chemical that inhibits impulses in the brain, and a study links this calming effect to reduced anxiety.

While previous studies have provided evidence that multivitamins can reduce stress levels, few studies have been conducted to find out which vitamins they contain cause this effect. The latest focused on the potential role of vitamin B6, which is known to increase the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.

During this study, more than 300 participants were randomly given either vitamin B6 or B12 supplements, approximately 50 times the recommended daily dose, or a placebo pill.

The study found that vitamin B12 had little effect compared to placebo during the trial period, but vitamin B6 made a statistically significant difference.

Many foods, including tuna and many fruits and vegetables, contain vitamin B6. However, the high doses used in this trial suggest that supplements would be necessary to have a positive effect on mood,” Field said, adding:

“It is important to acknowledge that this research is at an early stage and that the effect of vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was small compared to what you would expect from the medication.

Post by: Rinna James