Does Vitamin B Help With Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry that occurs as a natural reaction to stress. If you experience anxiety for no particular reason or feel anxious or panicked from everyday events, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Therapy and medication are common treatments for anxiety disorders, but lifestyle factors such as eating a nutritious diet rich in vitamin B can help as well, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lifestyle Factors and Anxiety

In addition to seeking counseling and or medication for anxiety, people with anxiety disorders can benefit from lifestyle changes. If you exercise regularly, get at least eight hours of sleep a night, practice stress reduction techniques and follow a nutritious eating plan, you can reduce or alleviate anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine and eat a diet rich in vitamin B, the clinic advises. Vitamin B helps the brain function and reduces anxiety and depression, according to 2004 article in "Psychology Today."

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin that occurs in eight forms -- vitamins B-1 through B-3, vitamins B-5 through B-7, vitamin B-9 and B-12. B vitamins are necessary for proper brain functioning, and a lack of B vitamins can lead to anxiety and depression, according to "Psychology Today." Symptoms of B vitamin deficiency may include nervousness, headaches, rapid heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, cramps, fatigue, irritability, tingling in hands and feet, and nausea after meals.

B Vitamin Sources

B vitamins occur naturally in a variety of foods, including spinach and other green, leafy vegetables; beans; peas; bananas; potatoes; liver; and whole grains. Vitamin B-12 is found only in animal sources, including clams, oysters, mussels, liver, caviar, octopus, fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb, poultry, milk, eggs and dairy products such as cheese. Some foods are enriched with B vitamins, such as certain cereals, breads and energy drinks. B vitamins are also available as supplements.


Eating a diet rich in vitamin B can help reduce your anxiety, but if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, seek professional help. The National Institute of Mental Health recommends talk therapy and sometimes medication to treat anxiety disorders. A mental health professional can evaluate you and determine the best treatment options for you. Healthy lifestyle habits such as following a nutritious eating program that incorporates B vitamins into your diet can compliment your anxiety treatment plan.