Three Vitamins Enhance Mood & Well Being

Three Vitamins Enhance Mood & Well Being

Three Vitamins Enhance Mood & Well Being

Complementary Prescriptions Staff

According to two new studies, three vitamins are important for improved mood and well-being.

In the first new study, higher intake of vitamins B12 and B6 decreased the risk of developing depression in older adults. The National Institute of Mental Health states that approximately 57.7 million American adults suffer from a mental disorder in a given year. This includes 14.8 million American adults with Major Depressive Disorder and 3.3 million American adults with Dysthymic Disorder, which is a chronic mild form of depression.

Using a food-frequency questionnaire, researchers evaluated the intake of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid in 3,503 adults ages 65 or older. The subjects also completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression evaluation. The researchers followed the subjects for an average of 7.2 years to determine the incidence of depression.

The results of the study showed that increased intake of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, including supplementation, was associated with a decreased risk of developing depression. More specifically, the study found that for each 10 additional milligrams of vitamin B6 and 10 additional micrograms of vitamin B12, the risk of developing depression decreased by 2 percent per year. The study did not find an association between folic acid intake and depression.

The researchers concluded, "Our results support the hypotheses that high total intakes of vitamins B6 and B12 are protective of depressive symptoms over time in community-residing, older adults."

In the second study, researchers investigated whether a particular vitamin deficiency is related to depression in older adults.

In this new study, researchers evaluated the relationship between serum vitamin D levels and the development of depression. The subjects included 531 women and 423 men 65 years of age and older. The subjects were evaluated for serum vitamin D levels (25(OH)D) at the beginning of the study. The subjects were also assessed for depressive symptoms at the beginning of the study, after 3 years, and at 6 years, using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Depression was defined as a CES-D score of 16 or greater.

The results showed that in both women and men, serum vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/liter was associated with higher CES-D scores and a significantly higher risk of developing depression over the 6-year follow-up. In women, the risk of developing depression in the subjects with low serum vitamin D was increased by two-fold compared to the subjects with higher serum vitamin D concentrations. In men, the association was slightly less, showing a 1.6-fold increase in risk of depression.

The researchers concluded, "Our findings suggest that hypovitaminosis D is a risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms in older persons. The strength of the prospective association is higher in women than in men. Understanding the potential causal pathway between Vitamin D deficiency and depression requires further research."


Skarupski KA, Tangney C, Li H, Ouyang B, Evans DA, Morris MC. Longitudinal association of vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 2. Published Online Ahead of Print.

Milaneschi Y, Shardell M, Corsi AM, Vazzana R, Bandinelli S, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Depressive Symptoms in Older Women and Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 May 5. Published Online Ahead of Print.

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