NUTRITION

Vitamin B6 may reduce anxiety symptoms - study

Vitamin B6 has a calming effect on the brain, reducing anxiety among the study's participants.

In Summary

•In the study, 80 per cent of the participants were young females, and 20 per cent were young males.

•Researchers agree that the research is at an early stage and the effect of Vitamin B6 on anxiety in the study was quite small compared to medication.

We all experience anxiety and feelings of sadness sometimes, however, an uncontrolled level of these emotions on a regular basis, may affect your mental health.

A group of researchers from University of Reading in UK have found that taking high-dose Vitamin B6 tablets can help manage anxiety and depression.

The scientists 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.

Their study, published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, provides valuable evidence to support the use of supplements thought to modify levels of activity in the brain for preventing or treating mood disorders.

Image: PEXELS

In the study, 80 per cent of the participants were young females, and 20 per cent were young males.

The new study focused on the potential role of Vitamin B6, which is known to increase the body's production of GABA, a chemical that blocks impulses between nerve cells.

“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," Field said.

Even though supplements are good, Nanyuki-based nutritionist Wincate Wangari told the Star on Friday, that food is often the best medicine as it contains a synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.

“When you bite into a piece of food like fruits or vegetables, you get hundreds of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in their natural form,” Wangari said.

 “These components work better together than they do in isolation. Supplements lack the natural synergy that you get from eating whole foods,” he added.

Wangari advised eating more fish, chickpeas, bananas, avocados, sukumawiki, aside from many fruits and vegetables which contain Vitamin B6.

"It is also important to note that it helps in producing healthy red blood cells and may reduce the risk of suffering from depression and other damaging psychological conditions," she said.

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

Research drawback

"It is important to acknowledge that this research is at an early stage and the effect of Vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was quite small compared to what you would expect from medication,” the researchers said.

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

Further research is needed to identify other nutrition-based treatments that promote mental well-being, allowing different dietary interventions to be combined in the future to provide greater results.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star