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High Dose Vitamin B6 Can Reduce Anxiety And Depression: New Study

Author: Medical Team (Alniche Life Sciences)


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Researchers from University of Reading, United Kingdom conducted research on the significance of high dose vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in anxiety and depression. Their research is published in journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental

The core objective of the study was to understand and explore to which extent Vitamins B6 and B12 can alter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) processing since GABA is the crucial neurotransmitter and plays a significant role in neurological disorders.


Anxiety and stress related disorders are bothering the individuals around the globe. They are effecting the wide range of group starting from children to older adults. There are numerous disorders that comes under this category including generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders and social anxiety disorders. According to the recent studies conducted on the Asian population, the prevalence of stress and anxiety was found to be 32.9% and 35.3%.

As per Prof. David Field, lead author of the study and associate professor at the University of Reading’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences. ‘The functioning of the brain relies on a delicate balance between the excitatory neurons that carry information around and inhibitory ones, which prevent runaway activity,” It is evident that Vitamin B6 and B12 have crucial contribution in metabolic processes which are responsible for reduction in neural excitation and increase inhibition.

Earlier studies have shown clinical evidences regarding significance of multivitamins in reduction of stress and depression. If we consider the already published literature where vitamin B6 and B12 consumed under RDA’s no promising results were found highlighting their impact in anxiety and depression whereas, limited studies are available indicating which particular vitamin is responsible for the role in this dimension.

Recommeded Dietary Allowance
       Authority/ institution                   B 6                           B 12           
     Indian council of medical research               2mg/day          1µg/day
    National institute of Health (USA)        1.7 mg/day       2.4µg/day

Hence, Present study revolves around investigating the influence of high dose vitamin B6 and B12 on anxiety and depression.

As described by the researchers Vitamin B6 is involved in numerous pathways which are responsible for reduction of neural excitations on the other hand Vitamin B12 shares two of the same mechanisms hence they have included both in the study.


A double-blind placebo-controlled study conducted for a period of 5 years comprising of 478 participants including 92 males and 381 females (No data for 5 participants) aged 18-58.

The participants were administered either a 1000 µg Vitamin B12 tablet as methylcobalamin, 100 mg Vitamin B6 tablet as pyroxidine hydrochloride or lactose placebo tablet as one tablet per day with food for the period of 30 to 35 days.

Individuals who were diabetic, lactose intolerant, epileptic, or taking drugs that interfered with the absorption of vitamin B were excluded from the study. Participants were also instructed stop taking multivitamins containing vitamin B during the course of study.

The core outcome measures were:

  1. Screen for adult anxiety related disorders (SCAARED) which is a measurement of symptoms of anxiety in adults derived analytically based on certain factors. Higher the score higher symptoms of anxiety.
  2. Mood and feelings questionnaire is used for measurements of symptoms related to depression consisting of 33 items resulting in single score framing of an adult self-report version. Higher score means higher symptoms of depression.
  3. Visual contrast sensitivity and surround suppression which is the ability to detect low-contrast visual targets in the presence/absence of a suppressive background pattern
  4. Binocular rivalry
  5. Tactile test battery


Results and Discussion

Data was collected for a period of 4.5 years in five different phases. The procedure of testing was changed while the treatment regimen remains constant.

According to the Anova analysis of SCAARED data between vitamin B6 and placebo, the reduction in the anxiety post-test were witnessed in the cohorts. The core reduction in anxiety was observed in vitamin B6 group while the reduction was insignificant in the placebo group.

The ANOVA analysis between vitamin B12 and placebo showed decrease in anxiety post-test. The main reduction in anxiety was due to vitamin B12 participants.

The B6 group also had significantly lower post-test scores on the generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety subscales of SCAARED. The B12 cohort had a significant post-test reduction on the separation anxiety subscale. In contrast, no significant changes were noted in the placebo group.

Significant reduction in post-test scores for generalized anxiety disorders and social anxiety subscales of SCAARED was observed for vitamin B6 cohort.

The Vitamin B12 group also showed remarkable post-test decrease on separation anxiety subscale. Placebo group didn’t show any promising changes.

Anova analysis of Mood and feelings questionnaire data comprising of B6 and placebo cohort showed no post-test uniform change in depression. Similarly, the Anova analysis of Vitamin B12 and placebo group showed no impactful changes, and the t-test of baseline and post-test scores of the B12 group was not influencing.

Vitamin B6 cohort showed larger surround suppression effect, indicating a substantial interaction between therapy and the presence/absence of the suppressive surround. As a result of follow-up t-test there was impactful difference between two groups regarding minimum detectable levels when surround suppression was present and becomes non-significant when surround suppression is absent.

Vitamin B12 group showed higher contrast thresholds than placebo group irrespective of surround suppression. However, independent of surround suppression, the contrast thresholds were higher in the B12 group than in the placebo cohort. When surround was present, the effect was slightly stronger.

No significant differences were observed between vitamin and the placebo cohort in the binocular rivalry reversal rate. Vitamin B6 and B12 groups did not show any impactful difference than placebo group in any of the six measures arising from the tactile test battery.


The outcomes of the study revealed that the neural inhibition and excitation was influenced by the high dose vitamin B6. Visual contrast thresholds were also enhanced by the vitamin B6 supplementation in the presence of suppressive surround.  The findings also showed the role of vitamin B6 in the reduction of self-reported anxiety symptoms. The enhanced level of GABA might be responsible for the reduction in anxiety. B6 supplementation, however, did not show any impact on other outcome indicators (Binocular rivalry, and tactile test battery).

The researchers did not find any rigid effect of vitamin B12 on the outcome measures, although the suggested trends showed reduced anxiety levels and enhanced visual contrast thresholds.

At the end, the study concludes that the high dose vitamin B6 supplementation can influence anxiety and depression. It can also enhance surrounding suppression of visual contrast detection.

Furthermore, other micronutrients can also be measured on the similar outcomes to identify the combination of micronutrients that could be combined and tested as a treatment for anxiety and depression.


1.Field, D. T., Cracknell, R. O., Eastwood, J. R., Scarfe, P., Williams, C. M., Zheng, Y., & Tavassoli, T. (2022). High-dose Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, e2852.




5. Salari, N., Hosseinian-Far, A., Jalali, R. et al. Prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Global Health 16, 57 (2020).