Vitamin B6 Supplementation May Reduce Anxiety, Depression

A high-dose intake of vitamin B6 supplementation may reduce anxiety and depression, according to a recent study.

The researchers investigated the influence of the vitamins B6 and B12 on behavioral outcomes when compared with a placebo. According to the study, previous research has shown that B vitamins have a positive effect in reducing stress levels, but few studies have aimed their research on specific vitamins.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a double-blind study examining the effects of supplementation for 1 month with a high dose of vitamins B6 or B12. A total of 478 young adults were included in the study, of which 265 self-reported anxiety and 146 self-reported depression.

Participants either received a placebo tablet, vitamin B12 tablets (containing 1000 μg of B12 as methylcobalmin), or vitamin B6 tablets (containing 100 mg of B6 as pyroxidine hydrochloride).

The researchers assessed participants’ inhibitory function post-supplementation, including surround suppression of visual contrast detection (n = 307), binocular rivalry reversal rate (n = 172), and ) a battery of tactile sensitivity test (n = 180).

Results of the study indicated that vitamin B6 raised gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain, as confirmed by visual tests at the end of the study. Vitamin B6 reduced self-reported anxiety and induced a trend of reduction in depression. The researchers noted that there was an increase in surround suppression of visual contrast detection. Vitamin B6 did not reliably influence the other outcome measurements.

Vitamin B12 supplementation led to trends in anxiety and visual processing changes.

“We have shown that supplementation with a high dose of a single vitamin (B6) can influence behavioural outcomes such as self-reported anxiety,” the researcher wrote. “This approach is more effective than multivitamin studies for identifying candidate mechanisms.” 


—Jessica Ganga


Field DT, Cracknell RO, Eastwood JR, et al. High-dose vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Hum Psychopharmacol. Published online July 19, 2022. doi:10.1002/hup.2852.