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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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