Connection between Vitamin B and Stress

Vitamin B complex could be of great help in case of anxiety, depression and stress.

vitamin b complex help in case of anxiety, depression and stress

You may think, what can be the relation between vitamins and stress. Could the lack of some essential vitamins cause or worsen the situation in case of stress, depression or anxiety? A lot of people suffer from anxiety and stress on a daily basis and studies show that the B complex vitamin can be of great benefit in helping alleviate the symptoms.

The B complex vitamin can help alleviate general tiredness, stress and anxiety and is often referred as the ‘stress’ vitamins. When human body is forced to withstand the demands of physical and emotional stress, B vitamins are the first to be depleted.

Requirement for vitamin B may be increased by some conditions as emotional or physical stress due to injury or surgery, to pregnancy and breast-feeding. Physically active people would require extra riboflavin. It was proved that use of birth control pills increases the need for some B vitamins.

Vitamin B complex has been shown to be beneficial in following:

•    Convalescence and fatigue
•    Anxiety and stress
•    Tinnitus
•    Bad hair condition
•    Dermatitis

But which are the sources for vitamin B complex to include them into a well balanced diet?

Although they can be found in many foods, fresh meat and dairy products are known to be the best sources for most of the B vitamins. Colabamin, or Vitamin B-12, is only found naturally in animal source foods. A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania or depression, while a long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. If consumed in excess Vitamin B-12 is stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce, or is excreted by the body. The best thing is that vitamin B-12 stored in liver can stay there up to a year.

Although B vitamins are prevalent in many foods, fresh meats and dairy products are the best sources for most of the B vitamins. Exposing foods to light or freezing them may destroy some of the vitamin content. To preserve the most of B Vitamins contained in foods, they should not be overcooked. The best way to prepare vegetables for example, is steaming them rather than boiling or simmering. Vitamins B are best to be taken together, in complex, unless there is a specific deficiency or need for an individual vitamin. An excess of one element may lead to depletion of the others.

What science says?

In case of stress the hypothalamus releases cotocotropin releasing factor (CFR), that being a hormone that protects body from stress. CFR sends signals to the pituitary gland causing the release of Adrenocorticotropic hormone corticotrophin (ACHT) that makes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream by adrenal glands. Cortisol speeds up the metabolism. Cells of brain stem and spinal cord send a message that stimulates adrenal glands to secrete a hormone – epinephrine that increases the heart rate, breathing and alertness. These mechanisms lead back to the pituitary gland and stress level can stop the process or repeat it. If the cycle continues over an extended period of time, it can have serious consequences on mental and physical health.

How B vitamins are involved in this process?

They help regulate the biochemical function reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Many symptoms of vitamin B deficiency are those that are also associated with irritability, anxiety, depression and nervousness.

Which of the Vitamins B is helping more?

There is no specific vitamin B that helps coping with stress. They help in complex but three of eight B vitamins have better effect on stress. They are vitamins B-3, B-6 and B-12.
Every vitamin has its functions and every of them are involved in cell metabolism that’s why it’s essential to have a balanced diet to keep the stress away.
If you are prone to stress, vitamin B complex would definitely help but in serious cases it’s better to seek a physician help.

More to read:

Take Control of Your Stress Levels by Adopting a Healthy Eating Style

Find out how to relieve stress naturally

Cereals, their nutrients and health benefits