A help to counteract anxiety and depression comes from a vitamin, in particular vitamin B6. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental by an English team (Field et al, Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental, Jul 2022).
How anxiety and depression arise
Our brain rests on a delicate balance between the neurons that cause arousal and carry information and the neurons that instead have an inhibitory function. According to the most recent studies, mood disorders, anxiety and depression are precisely caused by an alteration of this balance, in favor of the neurons that stimulate activity. It had already been possible to observe that taking multivitamin supplements is able to reduce stress and anxiety levels. However, there are few studies that go into detail to try to understand the function of individual vitamins. The research we are talking about today focuses on the action of vitamin B6, which appears to be a good candidate to be analyzed. In fact, vitamin B6 participates in the production of specific messengers, called GABA, designed to inhibit brain impulses. But does the calming action also have an effect aimed at counteracting anxiety and depression? Let's see what British scientists have observed.
Vitamin B6 fights anxiety and depression, the study
Scientists recruited 478 people between the ages of 18 and 58. The volunteers were divided into three groups. The first group was asked to take a supplement containing high doses of vitamin B6 for one month. The second group took vitamin B12 and the third a placebo. What emerged, at the end of the experiment, therefore after a month, is that those who had taken vitamin B6 showed a reduction in anxiety and depression, while no effect was recorded between those who had taken the placebo and vitamin B12. Analyzes showed that those who took vitamin B6 also had high levels of GABA.
The study analyzed the effects of high doses of vitamin B6, approximately 50 times the recommended daily amount.
Therefore, it is an initial study that had the sole purpose of being able to observe or exclude a beneficial action of vitamin B6 on mood. Other studies will follow to better understand this action and what can happen at lower doses, such as those seen with a healthy and balanced diet. For the moment, waiting for science to take its course, we can certainly include foods containing vitamin B6 in our diet, aware that in any case they can help us calm down and counter mood disorders. Some examples of these foods are fish, chickpeas, peas, but also broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes.