Vitamin B6 supplements could reduce anxiety, depression

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Scientists from the University of Reading measured the impact of high doses of Vitamin B6 on young adults and found that they reported feeling less anxious and depressed after taking the supplements every day for a month.

The study provides evidence to support the use of supplements thought to modify levels of activity in the brain for preventing or treating mood disorders.

The research is published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental and was conducted by Dr. David Field et al.

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 this study links this calming effect with reduced anxiety among the participants.

In the study, researchers focused on the potential role of Vitamins B6, which is known to increase the body’s production of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.

More than 300 people were assigned either Vitamin B6 or B12 supplements far above the recommended daily intake (approximately 50 times the recommended daily allowance) or a placebo, and took 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.

Raised levels of GABA among participants who had taken Vitamin B6 supplements were confirmed by visual tests carried out at the end of the trial, supporting the hypothesis that B6 was responsible for the reduction in anxiety.

Subtle but harmless changes in visual performance were detected, consistent with controlled levels of brain activity.

The team says many foods, including tuna, chickpeas and many fruits and vegetables, contain Vitamin B6.

However, the high doses used in this study suggest that supplements would be necessary to have a positive effect on mood.

Nutrition-based interventions produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs, and so in the future people might prefer them as an intervention.

If you care about memory, please read studies about a big cause of poor memory in older people, and this diet could strongly prevent memory loss and dementia.

For more information about supplements, please see recent studies about new way to treat vitamin D deficiency, and results showing this vitamin could help protect against respiratory infections.

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