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Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Research on Vitamins B6 and B12 and Depression

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Scientists have long hypothesized that depression is associated with a deficiency of B vitamins. A new report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Volume 92, page 330) suggests that vitamins B6 and B12 may indeed protect older adults from the symptoms of depression.

The study: In an ongoing Chicago-area study of 3,503 adults age 65 or older, researchers examined diet and supplement questionnaires the participants completed for an average period of seven years. The investigation focused on the participants' intake of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid.

After controlling for use of antidepressants, age, race and other variables, researchers found that each additional 10 mg of B6 and 10 mcg of B12 from both food and supplements were associated with a 2 percent reduction per year in the odds of developing symptoms of depression. However, food intake alone of these vitamins was not associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms, nor was total intake of folic acid.

Bottom line:  Keep in mind that this study only shows a link, not a direct cause and effect, between total vitamin B6 and B12 intake and a lower incidence of depression. You may want to ask your doctor if using a supplement can be beneficial to prevent depression.  

Posted in Depression and Anxiety on December 6, 2011


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Health Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the Johns Hopkins editors cannot be answered in this space.

The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Johns Hopkins Medicine or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.


Good information, but it would have been nice if the article had stated what dosage was considered optimum.

Posted by: mommasita | December 6, 2011 9:20 AM

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