Vitamin B6 Aids Anxiety, Depression

Vitamin B6 can be found in excellently healthy foods like chickpeas, squash, spinach, nuts, sunflower seeds, onions and so many more, including fish, poultry and beef. Sometimes, eating foods to get the vitamins in them encourages us to eat a wider variety than we would on our own. And new research will make you want to get more B6 into your day!  

A study with 478 people gave participants a placebo, B6 or B12 and then tracked a chemical that blocks stress. People taking B12 saw slightly better results than the placebo group. But the people taking B6 had significantly higher levels of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.  

The lead author, Dr. David Field, said 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.”

While B6 can be found in food, Dr. Field said he believed the dose high enough to impact the brain would need to be taken as a supplement. He didn’t think it would have as large of an impact as prescription medication. However, in conjunction with therapy, it could be a wonderful tool for people who wish to avoid medication.

He said that “nutrition-based interventions produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs.”

Participants took 70 milligrams a day. People should not take doses higher than 200 milligrams a day. It may lead to numbness in the limbs. That can become permeant if taken for several months. Taking a higher dose than you could get from food, but a lower dose than would be dangerous is the sweet spot. You can have too much of a good thing!

In addition to seeing chemical changes in the body, people taking B6 reported feeling less anxious and depressed. The changes inside the body lead to external results. B6 helps promote brain development and aids the nervous and immune systems. As the body balances so many systems, all of these factors could work together to help people. People felt better after just one month of taking the supplement daily.

By increasing your intake of B6 through diet and a supplement, you may be able to aid your mental health. However, you should speak to your doctor if you are struggling with anxiety and depression. Bring up this research as an option. Talk about your possible treatment plans. Holistic, diet-based approaches can be excellent in concert with therapy. But it’s essential to speak to a health professional to learn about all of your options. Help is available, and getting the right treatment plan is the best first step you can take!

Banner image: Julia Zolotova via Unsplash

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