Anxiety and depression symptoms can be reduced by using high-dose vitamin B6 pills, as per a recent study. Journal of Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental reported the study’s findings. When high dosages of vitamin B6 were administered to young people for a month, researchers at the University of Reading discovered that they reported feeling less worried and sad. (Also read: Mental health: Things that depression makes you wrongly believe in)

The study offers significant support for the use of supplements hypothesised to alter brain activity levels in the prevention or treatment of mood disorders.

The University of Reading’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences’ Dr David Field, the study’s principal author, explained that the brain’s ability to operate depends on a delicate balance between excitatory neurons that transport information and inhibitory ones that curb overactive behaviour.

Recent hypotheses have linked disruption of this balance–often in the direction of increased levels of brain activity–with mood disorders and other neuropsychiatric illnesses.

“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 lower stress levels, very little research has been done to determine which specific vitamins in these products are responsible for this outcome.

The current research concentrated on the possible function of vitamin B6, which is known to promote the body’s synthesis of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a substance that inhibits impulses between brain nerve cells.

In the current study, over 300 volunteers were randomly allocated to take one vitamin B6 or B12 supplement each day with meals for a month, significantly beyond the daily recommended amount (about 50 times the recommended daily consumption).

The research found that during the course of the experiment, Vitamin B12 had no effect compared to placebo, while Vitamin B6 produced a statistically significant difference.

Visual tests performed at the trial’s conclusion showed 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. The visual performance showed minor, safe variations that were consistent with managed levels of brain activation.

Dr Field stated: “Vitamin B6 is present in a wide variety of foods, such as tuna, chickpeas, and other fruits and vegetables. The large dosages utilised in this experiment, however, imply that further supplements might be required to have a mood-improving impact ” It is crucial to recognise that this research is in its early stages and that the effect of vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was much less than what one might anticipate from the drug. However, consumers may choose nutrition-based therapies in the future since they have fewer negative side effects than medications.

“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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