Did you know that B-vitamins and vitamin D may be useful in the treatment of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety? Recently, a systematic review was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of these vitamins in the treatment of such disorders. The result was surprising: supplementation with folic acid, L-methylfolate, vitamin B1, B12 or methylcobalamin, and vitamin D was effective in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety, increasing the response to standard pharmacological treatment or as monotherapy, including partial or complete remission.
A systematic review conducted between March 2020 and September 2021 evaluated the efficacy of B-vitamins and vitamin D in the treatment of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. The main inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with patients aged 18 years or older, of both sexes, who had diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or mild to severe depressive and anxiety symptoms. In addition, the RCTs were included if they used standardized scales to assess the severity of the symptoms. Studies that reported diagnoses of schizophrenia, perinatal depression, bipolar depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders, cancer, and multiple sclerosis associated with any of the mentioned diagnoses were excluded.
Twenty RCTs that met all eligibility criteria were identified, totaling 2,256 patients diagnosed with MDD, GAD, and depressive or anxiety symptoms. Supplementation with folic acid or L-methylfolate, vitamin B1 or B12 or methylcobalamin, and vitamin D (in different doses and treatment duration) significantly decreased depression scores, increasing the response to standard pharmacological treatment or as monotherapy, including partial or complete remission. As for anxiety symptoms, the available results are limited to adjuvant vitamin D therapy.
In addition, the combination of B-vitamins and vitamin D with other compounds also showed significant results, suggesting that intervention with these vitamins may be an effective and well-tolerated adjuvant strategy for improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to the patient's clinical status and nutritional biomarkers.
Not only are B-vitamins and vitamin D effective in the treatment of mental disorders, but they are also well-tolerated by patients. This means that, in general, they do not cause undesirable or serious side effects. This is very important, as many medications used in the treatment of mental disorders can have unpleasant side effects. In addition, B-vitamins and vitamin D are inexpensive and easy to find in foods and dietary supplements.
While these findings are certainly promising, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the role of B-vitamins and vitamin D in the treatment of mental disorders. However, these results do provide a strong foundation for the use of these nutrients as adjunctive therapies in the treatment of depression and anxiety. If you are interested in trying B-vitamin and vitamin D supplementation as part of your treatment plan for a mental disorder, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional first. They can help you determine the appropriate dosage and duration of treatment, as well as ensure that these nutrients are safe and appropriate for you.