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Facts About Depression - Vitamin B and Depression

Updated on May 5, 2012

Vitamin B deficiency can cause depression

Vitamin B has been shown to be effective in lessening depression and improving overall mood.
Vitamin B has been shown to be effective in lessening depression and improving overall mood.

Do you ever ask yourself, "Why am I depressed?"

If you suffer from low-level, chronic depression, or depression associated with pms, you may want to consider giving vitamin B a try.

Certainly anti-depressants and psychological counseling have their place and work well for many people, especially those that are clinically depressed. This article is in no way intended to suggest that those treatments are not valid and necessary for some individuals.

But for those people who are functioning fine, but feel blue continually, relief may come from the vitamin aisle of the store and not the pharmacy. You owe it to yourself to at least address whether or not a vitamin B deficiency is the cause of your depression.

Eat a diet rich in vitamin B foods

Eggs and dairy products are good sources of Vitamin B.
Eggs and dairy products are good sources of Vitamin B.

Natural depression remedies include eating foods rich in vitamin B or taking a vitamin B complex

Which "B" Vitamins Affect Mood? B12, B6 and B5, among others, all play a part in producing chemicals in the brain that affect mood and your emotional health. In very, very simplistic non-scientific terms, B6 is associated with the production of serotonin; a deficiency in B12 can lead to mood swings among other issues; and B5 plays a role in hormone formation, as well as the reuptake of certain amino acids and brain chemicals that together serve to prevent certain types of depression. If you are lacking in these and other B vitamins then you may feel depressed.

Your body does not store B vitamins so you need to replenish them daily. If your diet does not include enough vitamin B rich foods then you could easily become deficient.

It is also important to note that nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars all destroy vitamin B. Additionally, alcoholics,vegetarians, the elderly and women taking birth control pills are also at an increased risk of being vitamin B deficient.

Can prescription anti-depressants be taken with vitamin B? It would be wise to talk to your doctor about this (I am not a medical professional), but there have been studies done that have shown that vitamin B actually enhances the effects of anti-depressants, making treatment more successful1. In this study, patients on anti-depressants also had their levels of B12 in their bloodstream monitored. At the 6 month mark, researchers found that those that responded fully to treatment also had high levels of B12 at both the beginning and end of the study.

Ways to increase your levels of vitamin B:

  • Take a vitamin B-Complex supplement - this supplement includes all the B vitamins
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamin B - meat, eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, dairy products, vitamin-fortified foods
  • Take supplements that help your body absorb vitamin B, such as calcium
  • Eliminate or reduce refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine from your diet

This article is meant to serve solely as a jumping off point for you to further look into the link between B vitamins and depression. I can attest to the fact, that for me, vitamin B truly helps me feel better. Oh - and a little warning - taking vitamin B will cause your urine to turn neon yellow, so don't be alarmed!

1Studied conducted by The Department of Psychiatry at Kuopio University Hospital of Finland; published in BMC Psychiatry, December 2003


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    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks carter06. I have recently run out of my B complex vitamins and keep forgetting to buy more and can definitely tell the difference in my mood and energy level.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      This is both useful and interesting info ktrapp & so glad I found a firm believer in B vitamins & think both 12 & 6 are excellent for energy & mood levels and are particularly great at times of stress both good & bad...will be sharing this...cheers

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I love vitamin B complex, and if it helps people, how great that something with less chemicals can be of help. I am a huge fan of herbs and vitamins. Great hub, thanks for sharing it! :) I tweeted this, its an important subject, and I voted it up as well.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Victoria Lynn, I am a firm believer in vitamin B for helping moods. I have slipped lately and not been as good about taking vitamins and feel so blah - to use a technical term :) But a couple days ago I went back to my vitamin B regimen and very quickly felt my mood lifted. I hope it helps you too.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Useful and voted up. I'm going to try a vitamin B supplement to see if that improves my mood. Funny...I'm currently working on an article about clinical depression. I enjoyed your hub. I welcome any tips on making oneself feel better! Thank you!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Maralexa - I'm glad this hub on Vitamin B served as a reminder to you!

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Thank you for writing this hub, ktrapp. I am reading it at a good time. I used to take Vitamin B and for some reason stopped. Your hub has reminded me to pick it up again. Thanks.

      Good writing!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for your input Injured lamb. I wish everyone experienced the benefits of vitamin b, and especially b12, like you have. Vitamin B not only helps with depression and mood swings but it just makes you feel better day in and day out.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Vitamin B does help especially B12 which gives us a great energy and metabolism boost. This is what I learned and found as I am also a vitamin B taker. It really helps me to better control my mood swings, and well, aids in weight loss. Thanks for your great hub sharing.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Very interesting. I knew that were a lot of benefits to getting enough vitamin B, but I never heard of its bug repellant qualities. Thanks for sharing that!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      Vitamin B works well for a variety of issues - depression included. It's also a natural bug repellant I found out recently - those who consume a lot of vitamin B don't get bit as much by flies and misquitos - now I know next time we have a party outside to load up on B. It also helps your metabolism function properly :) Awesome hub