Long, stressed out days at the office, in traffic, and even at home is the new norm for most Americans. Finding ways to reduce stress is critical to maintaining good health. While it’s good to make time to meditate or go on relaxing vacations, the great news is to simply add more B vitamins to your diet and reduce stress on a daily basis!
An Australian study published in 2011 detailed a clinical trial that divided participants into two groups: one group took a daily B complex multivitamin; and the other group took a placebo. The before and after assessment of the mood, personality traits, and work-related stress, found that the group taking the vitamin B reported significantly less personal stress. They also reported less confusion, feelings of depression or rage, and were not as fatigued as the placebo group.
To “B” or Not To “B”?
It’s no secret that the body relies heavily on B vitamins to function properly physically and mentally. Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 are essential for mental function. Those who do not get enough B’s are often more irritable, have trouble focusing and report more feelings of depression or sadness.
The human body cannot produce vitamin B12 or folic acid so we must eat foods rich in those nutrients or consume it in supplement form. It’s best to get it from both food and supplement sources. Fish, chicken, clams and oysters are good sources of vitamin B12. Egg yolks, almonds, dried beans, wholegrain breads, and many fruits and vegetables contain folate, which becomes folic acid when absorbed by the body.
Meat and animal products are great sources of vitamin B12 and folic acid. So for vegetarians and those who consume little meat, supplements are recommended, and should be combined with daily grains, fruits and vegetables.
A B (vitamin) By Any Other Name Is Still As…Healthy
Vitamin B 12 is also known as cyanocobalamin, and folic acid is the alias for B9. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin are all other names for B vitamins, so look for them in the list of nutrients in your supplements.
Thiamine keeps the nervous system healthy which greatly affects mood and can increase cognitive functions like memory and focus. This can help you be more productive and focused on the job and in your work.
Niacin is important to the digestive and nervous systems. Without enough of it in your diet, you can feel more depressed, irritable and stressed out. B6, (or pyridoxine), is important for the plentiful production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps reduce stress and feelings of anxiety while boosting the immune system.
Related: For a Longer Life, Take B Vitamins
What Dosage Would B Healthiest?
It’s almost impossible to get all the B vitamins you need every day through diet alone, especially since we are a breakfast skipping, fast food nation. Taking a B-complex vitamin is one of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your job and in your life in general.
The average adult should aim for:
- 75 mg B1 (thiamine)
- 10 mg B2 (riboflavin)
- 100 mg niacin
- 68 mg B5 (pantothenic acid)
- 25 mg B6
- 30 mcg B12
- 20 mcg biotin
- 150 mcg folic acid
Don’t Worry “B” Happy
If you have been feeling irritable and more fatigued than usual, it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamin B’s in your diet. Exit the traffic on your daily commute and pick up a bottle of B-complex vitamins and you’ll be feeling better in no time!