The importance of Vitamins B and D for mental health.

Posted by Mark Hamilton on

How simple B Vitamins and Vitamin D may help with Mental Health.

Several theories underlie the basis of mental health conditions, these include neurotransmitter imbalance, inflammation of the brain, oxidative damage, and toxin load. Yet there may be other indirect influences such as diet, lifestyle, and hormone interactions. These however seem to be rarely discussed with many GP’s for some reason. Often deficiencies in the body can lead to health problems and with mental health issues B vitamins and Vitamin D play a crucial role.

A systematic review with meta-analysis of 16 trials which included 2,015 participants reported that 3 or more B vitamins taken for 4 weeks or more improved mood in 11 of the trials. Of those participants considered ‘at risk’ via stress, 62.5% found a significant benefit on mood in response to B vitamins.

Vitamin D is known to play a role in the development and function of neuronal and glial cells. Plus, a role in the regulation of inflammation, oxidative damage, and the buffering of calcium levels in the brain. Each of which, and cumulatively may influence mental health when in a state of vitamin D deficiency. An RCT of 64 patients under methadone maintenance treatment, were randomly allocated to receive 50000iu of vitamin D given fortnightly for 24 weeks or placebo. Cognitive and mental health measures were taken at baseline and post treatment for evaluation. As expected, serum vitamin D levels had increased in the intervention group when compared to placebo. In addition, the vitamin D group showed a significant reduction in the Iowa gambling task and significant increase in the verbal fluency test, immediate logic memory, reverse digit span and visual working memory besides a significantly improved Beck Depression Index score. Similarly, a review of studies showed that in 33 of 41 trials that inadequate vitamin D could be associated to the pathogenesis of mental disorders.

So often when I am asked is it important to take vitamins, my answer is always yes, even if its just a great quality multivitamin.



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