Participants took about 50 times more than the recommended daily amount every day for a month, researchers say
Taking high-dose vitamin B6 tablets has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Reading.
In the study, researchers wanted to measure the impact of a high dose of vitamin B6 on young adults. They found they reported feeling less anxious and depressed after taking the supplements every day for a month.
The research results, published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimentalshowed evidence supporting the use of supplements to alter activity levels in the brain to prevent or treat mood disorders.
“The functioning of the brain depends on a delicate balance between the excitatory neurons that carry information around and the inhibitory ones, which prevent runaway activity. Recent theories have linked mood disorders and some other neuropsychiatric disorders to an imbalance in this balance, often toward increased brain activity,” David Field, PhD, of the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, said in a statement.
“Vitamin B6 helps the body produce a specific chemical messenger that inhibits impulses in the brain, and our study links this calming effect to reduced anxiety in the participants,” he said.
The results of previous studies have suggested that marmite or multivitamins may reduce stress levels. However, few studies have shown which specific vitamins have the effect.
This study focused on the possible role of vitamin B6, which increases the body’s production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.
In the study, more than 300 subjects were randomly assigned vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 supplements that were well above the recommended daily allowance, about 50 times higher than the recommended daily allowance or the placebo. The individuals took them once a day with food for a month.
The results showed that vitamin B12 had little effect compared to the placebo during the trial period, but vitamin B6 made a statistically reliable difference.
“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 needed to have a positive effect on mood,” Field said. .
Individuals who took vitamin B6 supplements were confirmed to have elevated GABA levels by visual tests performed at the end of the trial.
Subtle but harmless changes in visual performance were detected, which remained consistent with the controlled levels of brain activity.
further research will be needed to identify other diet-based interventions that may benefit mental well-being, researchers said.
“It is important to recognize that this research is in 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, diet-based interventions produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs, and so people might prefer them as an intervention in the future,” Field said.
Vitamin B6 supplements can reduce anxiety and depression. EurekAlert. news item. July 19, 2022. Accessed July 19, 2022. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/958719