Want to Reduce Anxiety and Depression? This can help you!

After taking high amounts of vitamin B6 for a month, trial participants reported feeling less worried or depressed. The experiment offers proof that B6 may be useful in preventing or treating mood problems due to the soothing effect it has on the brain.

Researchers at the University of Reading discovered that when young adults were administered with high doses of vitamin B6 for a month, they reported feeling less worried and depressed.

According to the study, Clinical and Experimental, provides important evidence in favour of using dietary supplements for treating or preventing mood disorders that are thought to alter brain activity levels.

Dr David Field, lead author from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, said: “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Although earlier research has shown that marmite or multivitamins can reduce stress, very little research has been conducted to determine which specific vitamins in these products are responsible for this outcome.

The current research focused on the potential role of vitamin B6, which has been shown to increase the body’s production of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a substance that blocks impulses between brain nerve cells.

More than 300 volunteers were randomly assigned to take one vitamin B6 or B12 supplement with food each day for a month, far exceeding the daily recommended amount (about 50 times the recommended daily consumption).

The study discovered that, when compared to placebo, Vitamin B12 had no effect, whereas Vitamin B6 produced a statistically significant difference.

At the trial’s conclusion, visual tests revealed that those who had taken vitamin B6 supplements had higher GABA levels, confirming the theory that B6 was the cause of the decrease in anxiety. Minor, safe variations in visual performance were consistent with controlled levels of brain activation.

Dr Field said: “Many foods, including tuna, chickpeas 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.

“It is important to acknowledge that this research is at an early stage and the effect of Vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was quite small compared to what you would expect from medication. However, nutrition-based interventions produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs, and so in the future people might prefer them as an intervention.

“To make this a realistic choice, further research is needed to identify other nutrition-based interventions that benefit mental wellbeing, allowing different dietary interventions to be combined in future to provide greater results.

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

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Dr. Kirti Sisodhia

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