Vitamins B6, B12, C, and E help ease anxiety and depression
Vitamins B6 and B12
Vitamin B6 helps produce a molecule that relaxes the body and calms the mind, called gamma-
aminobutyric acid (GABA). Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy brain and nervous system function. In this study, 478 participants, age 18 to 58, took a placebo, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12, daily with food for 30 days.
Doses in the study were approximately 50 times the U.S. recommended dietary allowance: 100 mg per day for vitamin B6, and 1,000 mcg per day for vitamin B12. Before and after the study, participants completed assessments of anxiety and depression, and took tests of visual processing and cognition.
Both the B6 and B12 groups saw significant decreases in anxiety, with the B6 group seeing lower generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety scores. The B12 group saw lower separation anxiety scores. The placebo group saw no significant changes. Vitamin B6 appears to increase GABA levels which improve the balance between excitatory and inhibitory nerve signals—helping the brain respond calmly to visual and sensory stimuli.
Reference: Human Psychopharmacology; 2022, Vol. 37, No. 6, e2582
Vitamins C and E
Recent, large population studies suggest diet may play a role in depression, particularly when antioxidant levels are too low to overcome oxidative stress. In this review of 25 observational studies covering 91,966 participants, doctors compared levels of vitamins C and E in the diet and chances for depression.
Overall, those with lower levels of vitamin C in the diet were 28 percent more likely than those with higher vitamin C levels to have depression, consuming about 12 percent less daily vitamin C. For vitamin E, those with lower dietary levels were 16 percent more likely than those with higher vitamin E levels to have depression, consuming about 1 percent less daily vitamin E.
Reference: Frontiers in Nutrition; 2022, Vol. 9, Article No. 857823