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Is B12 Good for Anxiety?

by
author image Laura Agadoni
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.
Is B12 Good for Anxiety?
Anxiety can cause headaches. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12 can be good for anxiety if you have a B-12 deficiency. If you have a poor diet, are a vegetarian, are older than 50, or if you have celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, you are more likely to have a B-12 deficiency than the rest of the population. A blood test that your health care provider administers can detect whether you have a B-12 deficiency. However, if you suffer from anxiety, you may also need to explore other avenues such as psychological counseling.

Anxiety

Having low levels of vitamin B-12 can contribute to anxiety. When you have anxiety, you feel fearful and apprehensive. In an effort to get relief, some people try to self-medicate by abusing drugs or drinking alcohol excessively. Physical symptoms can accompany anxiety, including twitching, headaches, sweating, dry mouth and abdominal pain. With anxiety, it is also possible to have dizziness, a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, diarrhea, sleeplessness, irritability and sexual problems.

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B-12 Deficiency

Deficiencies of several of the B vitamins, which are B-1, B-2, B-6 and B-12, lead to higher-than-normal levels of anxiety, according to Hara Estroff Marano of “Psychology Today.” The B vitamins are part of the neurotransmitter production process, which regulates mood. If you have a B-12 deficiency, make dietary changes to help your body get its needed B-12. Eat poultry, meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk and fortified breakfast cereals. If that sort of diet is not possible for you, talk to your doctor about taking a daily B-12 supplement. Because B-12 can interact with certain medications and may be harmful in high doses, talking to your doctor first is necessary.

Anxiety and Depression

Depression causes feelings of hopelessness and sadness that persist for more than two weeks and affect a person’s daily life. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. About half of all people who have a depression diagnosis also have an anxiety disorder. Although depression and anxiety are different disorders, the symptoms can be similar.

B-12 and Depression

The “Journal of Psychopharmacology” published findings regarding a link between B-12 levels and depressive patients. The findings also noted that people who eat a traditional Chinese diet high in folate – found in vitamin B-12 – had low lifetime rates of depression. A doctor may prescribe antidepressants to people who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. More findings published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology” found that treatment with folic acid improves the effectiveness of antidepressants.

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