Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression. Low levels of such vitamins can result from factors like poor diet, or one’s body not being able to absorb the vitamins it consumes. Older adults, vegetarians, and people with digestive disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease may have trouble getting enough B-12.
Vitamin B-12 can be helpful in dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression. If you have a poor diet; are a vegetarian or are older than 50-years-old, you are more likely to have a B-12 deficiency than the rest of the population. Having low levels of vitamin B-12 can contribute to mental illnesses. When a person goes through anxiety, they start feeling fearful and apprehensive. In an effort to get relief, some people try to self-medicate by abusing drugs or drinking excessive alcohol. Physical symptoms can accompany anxiety, including twitching, headaches, sweating, dry mouth, and abdominal pain. With anxiety, it is also possible to face dizziness, a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, diarrhea, sleeplessness, irritability, and sexual troubles.
The Journal of Psychopharmacology published findings regarding a link between B-12 levels and depressive patients. The findings noted that people who eat a traditional Chinese diet high in folate – found in vitamin B-12 – had low lifetime rates of depression and that treatment with folic acid improves the effectiveness of antidepressants. If you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, taking a daily supplement that includes vitamin B-12 may help your body get the nutrients it needs. If there’s an extra-serious condition, a person is required to have a weekly intramuscular Vitamin B12 injection.
The best way to make sure you’re getting enough B-12 and other vitamins is to eat a healthy diet that includes sources of essential nutrients. Vitamin B-12 is plentiful in animal products such as fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, and low-fat and fat-free milk. Fortified breakfast cereals also are a good source of B-12 and other B vitamins.
Taking adequate amounts of vitamin B12 can help reduce stress by promoting a healthy nervous system function. When the nervous system is functioning properly, the adrenal glands do not secrete as much cortisol—the hormone produced during times of stress that causes a “fight or flight” response.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can hinder the ability to manage stress and can manifest in the body physically and mentally in the following ways:
- Loss of balance and trouble walking
- Tingling sensations or numbness in hands, legs, or feet
- Memory loss or cognitive difficulties
- Paranoia and delusions
- Loss of taste and smell
Are you getting enough B12?
Vitamin B12 assists in maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is needed to make DNA. It is also involved in homocysteine metabolism and plays a critical role in proper energy metabolism, immune function, and nerve function. Its deficiency is fairly common, especially among old people. The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of B12 per day.
This nutrient is responsible for numerous functions in one’s body, including red blood cell formation, energy production, DNA formation, and nerve maintenance. Health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain medications, genetic mutations, age, and dietary restrictions can all contribute to an increased need for B12. The vitamin’s deficiency can lead to serious complications such as nerve damage, anemia, and fatigue, which is why those at risk should add a high-quality B12 supplement to their diet.
While people who consume adequate amounts of B12-rich foods and are able to properly absorb and utilize this nutrient don’t necessarily need to supplement, taking extra B12 has been linked to some health benefits. For example, studies show that supplemental B12 may benefit people without a deficiency in the following ways:
One study found that supplementing healthy men with a B-complex vitamin containing a high dose of B12 improved ratings of stress and enhanced performance on cognitive tests.
Reduced and treat symptoms of anxiety and depression:
Treatment with a supplement containing a high dose of B12 for 60 days significantly improved depression and anxiety symptoms in adults when compared to a placebo. However, B12 supplements will most likely increase energy levels in those who are deficient, as this nutrient plays an important role in converting food into energy.