This is the continuation in a series of articles about the profound effect of specific B vitamins in depression treatment.
Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, has been shown to have a favorable impact on depression. In a number of studies, vitamin B12 deficiency was related to mood disturbances that responded to subsequent B12 supplementation.
A study by the National Institute on Aging noted that participants with a vitamin B12 deficiency were twice as likely to suffer from severe depression. Additionally, studies have shown that higher vitamin B12 levels are associated with a better outcome during recovery from depression.
The benefit of B12 for depression may be due to B12’s ability to activate a substance called tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), a compound which in turn helps activate “feel good” neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Folic acid and B12 work together and any supplementation program should include both of these nutrients.
Nutritional Supplements and B Vitamins
Taking a daily supplement that includes vitamin B-12 may help your body get the nutrients it needs, especially if you’re older than 50 or you’re a vegetarian. However, B-12 and other vitamin supplements can interact with some medications and cause other concerns, especially in high doses. Talk to your doctor before you take a vitamin supplement.
Keep in mind, the role of B vitamins in depression isn’t clear. If you have a vitamin deficiency, taking a supplement may help. But no supplement can replace proven depression treatment such as antidepressants and psychological counseling.