Vitamin B Complex for Stress Relief: Here’s How It Works
- Stress affects all of us, but too much of it over a prolonged period has devastating effects on your mind, body, and soul.
- B vitamins can help ease the psychological tension to boost your overall well-being.
- You can consume B vitamins through whole-food sources and/or a high-quality vitamin B complex supplement.
Stress, in minute amounts, is good for us. But when you constantly feel on edge, your body wears down. This can trigger a slew of health problems, ranging from poor mental health to a weakened immune system.
Unfortunately, many of us are caught in the claws of chronic stress, as well as depression and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress in the United States has become a full-blown mental health crisis in the last two years. Unsurprisingly, this low mood was echoed around the world per a global emotions survey.
It's no wonder that we're grasping at any straws to relieve chronically high stress levels. Meditation, exercise, and self-care instantly come to mind. But aside from these commonly used techniques, many are turning to B complex vitamins for stress reduction, too.
Ahead, we share how the various B vitamins work to ease psychological strain and bolster your defenses against the dreaded "S" word.
The 8 Essential B Vitamins You Need to Know
What exactly is B complex? For the uninitiated, B complex consists of the following eight water-soluble B vitamins:
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Niacin or niacinamide (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
- Folate or synthetic folic acid (vitamin B9)
- Cobalamin or cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
B vitamins are present in whole foods such as oatmeal, bananas, and spinach. That said, many people are guilty of unhealthy eating. Translation: They don’t get enough of these micronutrients from their diet. That’s where a dietary supplement in the form of a vitamin B complex can help (more on that later).
The Scientific Nod of Approval on B Complex for Stress
Now, let’s dive into what you really want to know — do B vitamins do anything for your stress levels? According to science, the answer is a resounding yes. Here are several research studies showcasing the efficacy of B complex for stress-relief:
- A groundbreaking study in the Journal of Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental proved that B complex successfully reduced stress. Participants that supplemented with B complex for 90 days reported significantly lower work stress at the end of the experiment. They also noted less confusion and a better mood.
- A recent meta-analysis involving more than 7,000 adults examined the relationship between B vitamins and mental health. It found that higher biotin intake is linked to lower stress, depression, and anxiety. Also, the less vitamin B6 you take, the more vulnerable you will be to stress. Meanwhile, eating enough vitamins B1, B3, and B5 are associated with decreased anxiety. Last but not least, adequate folic acid intake is related to reduced depression.
- A 2017 systematic review highlighted the impacts of various micronutrients on stress in women. On its own, pyridoxine reduced anxiety in older women. Aside from vitamin C, which lessened stress-induced anxiety, magnesium and vitamin B6 also tamped down premenstrual anxiety. Another related study confirmed that magnesium and vitamin B6 are more effective at reducing stress than magnesium alone.
As you can see, the B complex for stress reduction isn’t just a marketing gimmick. Countless studies and clinical trials have the scientific proof to back up this health claim. But, how do B vitamins help your mind and body effectively tackle stress?
B Complex for Stress Relief: How It Works Behind the Scenes
You may have heard that B vitamins act as essential coenzymes in your body’s cellular energy production. These antioxidants help keep vital functions, like your nervous system and immune system, running smoothly. But that’s not all they do. There are various pathways these antioxidants take to give you a respite from stress.
For starters, there’s an inverse relationship between B vitamins and homocysteine levels in the human body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that grows in abundance when you eat a meat-rich diet. High homocysteine content has been reported in vitamin B-deficient individuals with depression. That’s because vitamins B6, B9, and B12 break down homocysteine into two other amino acids — methionine and cysteine. So, supplying your body with these essential B vitamins helps keep your homocysteine concentration in check for a better mood.
On a related note, chronic stress suppresses your body’s ability to produce dopamine, the “feel-good” brain chemical. Stress also does a number on your serotonin levels, which is commonly known as the mood-regulating “happy chemical.” Taken together, these biochemical changes explain why you’re prone to negative emotions like anger and sadness when you’re on edge.
So, where does the B complex for stress come into play?
A 2018 study using rat models highlighted that vitamins B2 and B6 restored dopamine levels and lowered oxidative stress. Most notably, pyridoxine helps produce red blood cells, dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (aka, GABA, the brain chemical with a calming effect).
Emotional and physical stress also takes a toll on your adrenal glands, which regulate stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Fortunately, science dictates that B vitamin supplementation (specifically B1, B6, and B12) potentially boosts adrenal gland function for a more positive stress response.
Last but not least, folic acid is another B vitamin lauded for its stress-relieving effects. Vitamin B9 makes serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. A lack of this antioxidant is often linked to depression.
B Complex for Stress Support Works Better as a Whole
Given how the scientific literature spotlights certain B vitamins for better mental health, you may think it’s okay to cherry-pick specific ones. Well, it turns out that may not be the case.
Instead, a systematic review and meta-analysis explain it’s better to incorporate all eight B vitamins into your diet. That’s because they work in tandem to carry out the various biological processes to dial down your stress levels. Another 2013 meta-analysis supported this revelation. It found that multivitamins infused with high doses of B vitamins were more effective at diminishing stress and enhancing mood in healthy individuals.
How to Incorporate B Complex for Stress Relief Into Your Diet
The verdict is clear: B complex for stress reduction is vital to your psychological wellness. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t store B vitamins, and any excess is passed out as urine. As such, you need to replenish your supply through your diet every day. But how to get more of the good stuff into your meals?
Whole-food sources, such as vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are one way to go. If you need some help meeting the recommended daily values (DVs) of each B vitamin, ask a licensed healthcare professional whether dietary supplements would be right for you.
As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements differently than food and drugs, make sure you do your research to check that the brand you’re buying from is trustworthy, and read the product label carefully. Of course, customer reviews will come in handy during your search, too!
For those on the lookout for a high-quality vitamin B-complex supplement, try Llama Naturals’ Plant-Based Multivitamin for adults. Besides the eight B vitamins you need, our vitamin supplement also contains other essential nutrients such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D (in the form of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3)
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K1
You’ll be happy to hear that our gummy vitamins are made of real fruit with no added sugar. They encompass 13 natural vitamins from real fruit and vegetables, slow-cooked to retain all their goodness.
We also skip out on synthetic vitamins, sugars, sweeteners, toxins, and fillers. Case in point: We swapped artificial binding agents, like cellulose and magnesium stearate, for the natural stuff (apple pectin). To top it off, our gummy vitamins are gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms).
Take Advantage of B Complex for Stress Reprieve
High stress levels over a prolonged period are the epitome of “too much of a good thing.” Positive lifestyle changes, like eating more B vitamin-rich foods, are your first line of defense against the tension. After all, there’s a reason why these vitamins are termed “essential.”
If you find it difficult to reach your daily quota of B vitamins through your diet, try the supplement route once you have the green light from a healthcare professional. With Llama Naturals' Plant-Based Multivitamin, you can take advantage of B complex for stress reprieve the natural way.Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that the whole family will love.