10% off £20 OR 15% off £30

Code:QUICK
 

10% off £20 OR 15% off £30

Code:QUICK

🏷️ 3 for 2OffersOffers Hub3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceShort DatedLast chance to buyFree GiftVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD Body BalmCBD SprayCBD CapsulesCBD DropsCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsShop by offer3 for 2 Mix & MatchShort DatedShop by brandHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicWeledaBach Original Flower RemediesBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Free fromDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllComic ReliefEasterVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksGreen TeaPeppermint TeaHerbal TeaFruit TeaSlimming TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodShop by offer3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceShop by brandHolland & BarrettNaturyaGrenadeHeath & HeatherPukkaMeridianNakdTwiningsManuka DoctorBionaFree fromGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeCrustaceans FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeMollusc FreeWheat FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossShop by offerSave up to 1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchFree GiftShop by brandOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadePhDApplied NutritionFoodspringSiSHuelYfoodFree fromDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesMakeupElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessShop by offer3 for 2 Mix & MatchLast chance to buySave up to 1/2 PriceShop by brandDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaSukinQ+AEthiqueSo EcoFree fromAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllWeight Management SupportSlimming TabletsFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersCarb BlockersAppetite SuppressantsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesWeight Management ShotsDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksLow & No Calorie DrinksExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsShop by offer3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceFree GiftShop by brandOptimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPulsinPhDNew NordicSlimExpertApplied NutritionBoombodFree fromDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationShop by offer3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceShort DatedShop by brandHolland & BarrettVitabioticsWeledaDr OrganicSolgarNew NordicNaturtintOptimum NutritionHeath & HeatherBounceFree fromDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessImmunityGut HealthMenopauseWomen's HealthFood & DietMuscle & Joint PainSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthChildren's HealthLearn about WellnessImmunityGut HealthMenopauseFood & DietJoints, Bones & MusclesSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast
vitaminb6

Can vitamin B6 help to reduce anxiety and depression?

27 Jul 2022 • 5 min read

New research from the University of Reading could bring “comfort food” to a whole new level. 

Their recent study has shown vitamin B6 to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.¹

We’ve seen previous news that foods like Marmite could help ease our worries.² Now, B6 specifically seems to be the magic ingredient. 

Could upping your intake really keep low mood at bay? We’ve shared the findings…

We'll discuss...

What is vitamin B6?

Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is one of the eight essential B vitamins.

It’s responsible for healthy nervous and psychological function, since it helps make neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine, our “happy hormones”).³

Vitamin B6 is also important for: 

  • Normal immune function
  • The body’s adrenal function. Your adrenal glands produce adrenaline, so they’re responsible for your “fight-or-flight” response. Different parts of these glands also control your body’s sex hormones and salt and sugar balance.⁴ 
  • Easing symptoms of PMS 
  • Producing haemoglobin for red blood cells
  • Regulating hormones
  • Turning food into energy
  • Helping to reduce tiredness 

Our bodies can’t store B6 for very long, since it’s water-soluble. So, it’s important to replenish your levels every day in your diet. 

The science behind it

So, we already knew that vitamin B6 could help regulate our hormone and adrenaline levels. What’s new about the research from Reading?

The study, published on 19 July 2022, asked 478 young adults with and without self-reported anxiety and depression to take a B6 supplement, B12 supplement, or a placebo for 30 days. 

It found that vitamin B6 helps to produce a particular chemical messenger called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that limits impulses in the brain.¹ 

The University calls these impulses “runaway activity” - so you might feel them when you’re particularly anxious, or when your brain isn’t regulating your mood quite as it should be. 

Shutting off these impulses can help produce a calming effect, as shown in the study: the participants taking B6 reported lower anxiety levels and indicated trends towards reduced depression after 30 days of taking their supplements. 

According to a graph published by the University, anxiety levels dropped by 13% in those taking B6 every day, compared to 4.8% in the placebo group.¹ 

On the other hand, vitamin B12 showed trends towards a reduction in anxiety, and no discernible signs of improving depression. 

Good sources of vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it reaches your system quickly. 

But, it’s just as easily excreted (when you sweat, for example).

As a result, you should include vitamin B6 as part of your everyday balanced diet.

You’ll find B6 in:

  • Lean meat and seafood (particularly tuna)
  • Chickpeas (and foods containing them, like hummus and falafel)
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Soya beans
  • Wheatgerm
  • Lentils, bran, and brown rice
  • Milk
  • Some fortified cereals
  • And even Marmite (though this is higher in B12 and folic acid).⁵

Adults only need 1.2 - 1.4mg of vitamin B6 per day, and most people get their daily recommendation from their diet alone.⁶ 

B6 deficiency may be more common in older people and those with less varied diets. Signs can include anemia and numbness in the hands and feet.⁶

Could this actually help?

The University of Reading’s research displayed a clear link between high B6 levels and an increase in the neurotransmitters which regulate feelings of anxiety and depression.

But, before you rush for the tinned tuna in your cupboard, it’s worth noting that the study’s participants took 100mg of vitamin B6 per day: about 83 times the recommended daily amount (RDA).

It’s usually a good idea to get your primary source of vitamins through your diet, but in this case it might be a job for supplements!

Chickpeas are the highest food source of B6, with 1 cup holding 65% of your daily RDA.⁷

But you’d have to chow down on roughly 100 cups of chickpeas per day to replicate the effects of the Reading study… 

Can you overdose on vitamin B6?

The NHS says that taking 200mg or more of vitamin B6 per day could lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy. (That’s the same side effect as B6 deficiency, so be careful).⁶

This will usually subside once you’ve lowered your intake, but in extreme or prolonged cases the damage can be permanent. 

There’s not yet enough evidence to concretely show the effects of an extremely high vitamin B6 intake. 

Please speak to your doctor before consuming more than 10mg of vitamin B6 in your supplements or diet. 

While a varied and vitamin-rich diet can help enhance your wellbeing, there are times when you may need additional ways to stay mentally well. 

Talk to your GP if you’ve been feeling continually anxious or down for more than 2 weeks. 

The final say…

The University of Reading’s new findings are really exciting! The study is a fascinating insight into yet another way that diet can influence our wellbeing. 

But - love it or hate it - we certainly wouldn’t recommend a vat of Marmite as your next meal. 

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. 

Before taking any supplements or minerals, it’s best to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients through your diet first.

Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. 

Last updated: 27th July 2022

Sources

1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hup.2852

2. https://www.york.ac.uk/research/impact/marmite/

3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16763894/

4. https://www.adrenal.com/adrenal-gland/function

5. https://www.unileverfoodsolutions.co.uk/product/marmite-yeast-extract-6x250g-1-EN-690881.html

6. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/

7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/

 
bhupesh-panchal

Bhupesh Panchal

Author

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.