According to new research, taking high-dose vitamin B6 tablets has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Scientists at the University of Reading measured the impact of high doses of vitamin B6 on young adults and found that they felt less anxious and depressed after taking the supplements every day for a month.
The study, published in the journal Human psychopharmacology: clinical and experimentalprovides valuable evidence supporting the use of supplements believed to alter activity levels in the brain to prevent or treat mood disorders.
Dr David Field, lead author from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, said: “Brain function relies on a delicate balance between excitatory neurons that carry information and inhibitory neurons, which prevent runaway activity. .
“Recent theories have linked mood disorders and certain other neuropsychiatric conditions to a disturbance of this balance, often in the direction of increased 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 to reduced anxiety in participants.”
While previous studies have proven that multivitamins or marmite can reduce stress levels, few studies have been conducted on the particular vitamins they contain that cause this effect.
The new study focused on the potential role of vitamins B6, known to increase the body’s production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.
In the ongoing trial, more than 300 participants were randomly given vitamin B6 or B12 supplements well above the recommended daily allowance (about 50 times the recommended daily allowance) or a placebo, and took it. one a day with food for a month.
The study showed that vitamin B12 had little effect compared to placebo over the trial period, but vitamin B6 made a statistically reliable difference.
Elevated GABA levels in participants who took vitamin B6 supplements were confirmed by visual tests performed at the end of the trial, supporting the hypothesis that B6 was responsible for reducing anxiety. Subtle but harmless changes in visual performance were detected, consistent with controlled levels of brain activity.
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 needed to have a positive effect on mood.
“It is important to recognize that this research is at an early stage and that the effect of vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was quite small compared to what you would expect from a drug. However, the interventions based on nutrition produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs, and so in the future people may prefer them as an intervention.
“To make this a realistic choice, further research is needed to identify other nutrition-based interventions that benefit mental well-being, allowing different dietary interventions to be combined in the future to provide better results.
“One potential option would be to combine vitamin B6 supplements with talk therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to enhance their effect.”
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Material provided by Reading University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.