B vitamins, vitamin D may help prevent depression, anxiety

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Scientists from the Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás found that B vitamins and vitamin D may help prevent depression and anxiety.

Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed.

The exact cause of depression is unknown.

It may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Anxiety disorders often go hand in hand with depression. People who have anxiety disorders struggle with intense and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, and/or panic.

These feelings can interfere with daily activities and may last for a long time.

In the review study, researchers aimed to evaluate the efficacy of B vitamins and vitamin D therapy in improving the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

The team also aimed to gather evidence supporting the recommendations for supplementation in clinical practice.

The analyses were performed between March 2020 and September 2021.

The team reviewed clinical studies that tested patients ≥ 18 years old and with diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or mild to severe depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Twenty studies with more than 2,200 people diagnosed with MDD, GAD, and depressive or anxiety symptoms were included.

The team found supplementation with folic acid or L-methylfolate, B1, B12, or methylcobalamin, and vitamin D strongly decreased depression scores by increasing response to standard pharmacological treatment or as monotherapy, including partial or complete remission.

As for anxiety symptoms, the availability of results is limited to vitamin D therapy.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that B vitamins and vitamin D linked to other compounds also showed strong results, so the improvement in symptoms cannot be attributed strictly to those.

These results suggest that intervention with B vitamins and/or vitamin D may be an effective and well-tolerated adjuvant strategy for improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The research was published in Nutritional Neuroscience and conducted by Jaqueline G Borges-Vieira and Camila K Souza Cardoso.

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