Have you been feeling down lately? Perhaps you are going through a rough patch at work. Maybe a major event caused depression-like feelings and symptoms. Alternatively, you might be feeling anxious and looking to feel better and relaxed.
Various nutrients, especially vitamins, may play a role in assisting you in feeling better and promoting a positive mood.
Vitamin B6 is infamous for its use in reducing the risk of depression and poor mood.
Here is what science has to say about the use of this vitamin for improving your mood and dealing with anxiety and depression!
Vitamin B6 - The Basics
Vitamin B6 is a generic name for a total of six substances that are related to the activity of vitamin B6. These substances include pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal, and phosphate esters. Vitamin B6 is only one of the B complex of vitamins, which are water-soluble.
Scientists indicate that vitamin B6 plays an important role in protein metabolism and reactions related to it. It is believed that pyridoxine is also connected to immunity, brain function and development, and over 100 enzyme reactions.
In short, it is essential for everyday mental function.
The best food source of vitamin B6 is chickpeas. Only a single cup should get you more than half of the recommended daily intake. Beef liver, fresh tuna, sockeye salmon, roasted chicken breast, and boiled potatoes are some other sources of vitamin B6.
What Is the Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin B6?
The intake required to ensure a minimum requirement of the human body varies depending on your age.
Both male and female adults between 19-50 years old need 1.3 mg of vitamin b6 daily.
Infants need less vitamin B6 than adults, and the required levels increase as people grow old. Pregnancy and breastfeeding women need the highest dose of this vitamin daily.
Here is an overview of the recommended dietary allowance:
Recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B6 (https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B6#depression-prevention)
When discussing the doses of vitamin B6 you can consume daily, it is worth noting that the tolerable intake level is considerably higher. According to the same source, the Institute of Medicine puts the tolerable intake in adults up to 100 milligrams per day.
That indicates the human body handles pyridoxine well. That is partly because humans excrete any excess vitamin B6 through urine. An increased level of vitamin B6 could benefit those dealing with deficiency. Regular intake of higher levels could also ensure that you experience better effectiveness in feeling the benefits delivered by this vitamin.
Research Study 1 (Vitamin B6 & Anxiety)
A study conducted in 2018 in India focused on mice and the potential anxiolytic-like effect of pyridoxine on these animals.
The study confirmed that pyridoxine could boost GABA production and decrease nitrite and glutamate levels.
The anxiolytic-like effects were demonstrated in combination with PTZ treatment.
Research Study 2 (Vitamin B6 & Depression & Anxiety)
Another study focused on the effectiveness of magnesium combined with vitamin B6. The researchers analyzed 79 rats that were on magnesium-deficient nutrition for weeks.
The results showed the deficiency in this mineral could lead to anxiety and depression-like behaviors.
That is why the increase of vitamin B6 and magnesium demonstrated an anxiolytic-like effect.
Research Study 3 (Vitamin B6 & Depression)
Multiple studies confirm the correlation between pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and depression symptoms. According to research published in the Journal of American College Nutrition, the elderly population from Massachusetts was the focus of a study conducted in 2008. More than 600 Caribbean Hispanics and 250 participants that belong to the non-Hispanic white population were tested.
The researchers used the Depression Scale published by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies to assess the depression-like symptoms.
The results showed that a deficiency in vitamin B6 could double the risk of developing depression after an acute illness.
Research Study 4 (Vitamin B6 & Depression)
Another study conducted in 2012 among more than 1,350 elderly participants showed similar results.
The conclusion was that a vitamin B6 deficiency may be the reason behind exhibiting emotions and mood characteristics for depression.
That is particularly true if vitamin B6 deficiency was combined with low levels of folate or anemia. The researchers conclude that checking out the nutrient levels of the elderly who exhibit symptom depressions can assist in deciding the treatment.
Research Study 5 (Vitamin B6 & Depression)
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published another study that discusses the relation of vitamin B6, as well as other B vitamins and depressive symptoms.
Once again, the elderly population was the focus since they are at particular risk of developing depression-like symptoms due to nutrient deficiency.
More than 3,500 adults participated in the study, and more than half were African American. The requirement for the participation was to be at least 65 years old.
The study was conducted in Chicago, and the participants filled a questionnaire related to their nutrition. The same CES-D scale was used to determine depression-like symptoms.
The results were interesting – supplementation and higher intake of pyridoxine and vitamin B12 showed a reduced risk of developing depression in the long run. According to the study, the regular consummation of vitamin B6 supplements could reduce the risk of depression symptoms for appearing for approximately 2%.
Even if the participant consumed alcohol, smoking, entered widowhood, or caregiving status, these assessments remain the same.
Research Study 6 (Vitamin B6 & Depression)
When it comes to medical conditions, B vitamins can play a role in pushing the patient through the recovery process. For example, people who had a stroke could reduce the risk of depression in the long run by ensuring an optimal B vitamin intake.
That was confirmed by a study published in 2010. The trial involved a group that received a treatment of a B vitamin complex (folic acid, pyridoxine, and vitamin B2) for one to ten years. A total of 273 people stuck with the trial for at least five years.
The results indicated a significant decrease in the risk of developing major depression in participants taking B vitamins.
The comparison between the placebo group and the one receiving the vitamins showed a decrease of almost 5%. The risk decreased from 23.3% to 18.4%. The conclusion is that pyridoxine and other B vitamins could help to avoid post-stroke depression. Although there are no studies, that implies the same could be the case with other medical conditions leading to depression.
Vitamin B6 is called an essential vitamin for good reason. Your body relies on it to run your brain at it's best.