Vitamin B6 may reduce anxiety symptoms, according to a research

Vitamin B6 may reduce anxiety symptoms, according to a research ...

Everyone may be anxious or depressed at times. However, some people may experience life-changing levels of these emotions on a regular basis, developing into a mental health problem that requires treatment.

Researchers at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom examined how vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 may affect anxiety and depression.

Vitamins B6 and B12 are present in foods such as chickpeas and tuna, but the research team found them to be much higher levels than in food.

Their findings were published in the human psychopharmacology journal Clinical and Experimental.

Quick facts about mental illness

Anxiety and mood disorders may affect people of all ages, from young children to older adults. There are several different types of disorders that fall under the umbrella of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), around 31 percent of adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Additionally, about the same percentage of young adults (ages 13-18) suffer with anxiety disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 8.5 percent of adults in the United States experienced a depressive episode in 2020, making depression one of the most prevalent mental health conditions.

Medical professionals often combine therapy and medication to treat anxiety and mood disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are two popular therapy options.

There are a number of anxiety medications available on prescription, including benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Ativan) and buspirone. Also, certain antidepressants can help treat both anxiety and depression, such as SSRIs (such as Lexapro or Zoloft) and tricyclics (such as Anafranil or Tofranil).

People with anxiety and depression may also seek natural therapies to relieve their symptoms, or take herbal supplements such as ashwagandha and valerian.

B6, B12 in large quantities

Vitamins B6 and B12 may affect the processing of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and may contribute to an individual's anxiety or depression.

Prof. David Field, the lead author of the study and associate professor at the University of Readings School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, believes that the brain's functioning is in a delicate state between excitatory neurons that carry information around and inhibitory ones that prevent runaway activity.

The absence of inhibition-excitation coordination in the brain has been linked to anxiety, depression, autism, and schizophrenia. Furthermore, the authors argue, that some people may suffer visual or other sensory disturbances in many of these mental health disorders, which are believed to be related to excitation-inhibition imbalances in the visual cortex.

Vitamin B6 is involved in a number of other processes that are likely to decrease neural excitation, according to the authors. Vitamin B12 shares two of the same pathways, so the researchers wanted to test it as well to see how it might perform.

The researchers recruited an initial group of 478 participants who had self-reported anxiety and/or depression. They were randomly selected to receive vitamin B6, vitamin B12, or a placebo.

The B6 tablets contained 100 milligrams of B6, while the B12 tablets contained 1,000 micrograms of B12. This far exceeded the Food and Drug Administration's daily recommended intake of 1.7 mg for B6 and 2.4 mg for B12.

The researchers used the Screen For Adult Anxiety Related Disorders (SCAARED) and Mood and Feelings Questionnaire to screen participants for anxiety and depression before and after the vitamin or placebo treatments.

At the conclusion of the study, the participants completed visual and tactile examinations.

The vitamin that aided in the recovery

Vitamin B6 may be useful in relieving anxiety and depression symptoms, according to the study findings. Compared to the placebo group, the participants saw a significant decrease in their SCAARED and MFQ tests.

Prof. Field claims that vitamin B6 helps the body produce a special chemical messenger that inhibits impulses in the brain.

The B6 group showed an increase in the surround suppression of visual contrast detection at the end of the study, which the authors argue is due to an inhibitory GABA-related mechanism.

The vitamin B12 group participants reported a little improvement in anxiety and depression symptoms compared to the placebo group, but the researchers concluded that this was unsurprising.

The authors conclude that the present 1-month supplementation period in the current study was insufficient for the effect of B12 supplementation.

What do the findings reveal?

The findings of the study may be beneficial to people with anxiety or depression in many ways.

First, vitamin B6 supplements are readily available over-the-counter at most drug stores and other retailers.

In an interview with Medical News Today, Dr. Tom MacLaren, a consultant psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health in London, believes this might be a breath of fresh air for people with anxiety disorders who have not had any new therapies for a long time.

Many people take B6 vitamins regularly, so it might be an attractive strategy to supplement treatments they are already taking. Dr. Tom MacLaren

Another way the research might be beneficial to those with anxiety or depression is that the findings suggest that vitamin B6 may help with GABA.

Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme in the synthesis of GABA from glutamate, according to Dr. David A. Merrill, a psychiatrist and director of the Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

This makes sense and becomes an important way to explain the findings to patients and perhaps those who have not sought treatment but are suffering with significant anxiety, according to the author.

Alternatively, if some people with anxiety or depression are able to reduce symptoms by taking vitamin B6, they may be able to avoid the side effects of prolonged use of certain medications.

Dr. Merrill said that certain anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, have potential side effects such as sedation, imbalance, or memory loss. Benzodiazepines may also be overused to the point of becoming ineffective, or you may develop both psychologic and physiological dependence that makes it difficult to stop using the medications.

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