Mankind is engulfed by stress existing as a result of our different actions, thoughts and deeds. Even kids and adolescents are swarmed by loads of homework or class projects that need their undivided attention most of the times; both the couples work equally hard to pull through the month which leaves the kids at the mercy of daycare and the unending rise in commodity prices has left us all agape with many families trying to end their lives unable to match their salary with the daily life requirements. Choices are many but so are the consequences of advancements. Stress at workplace is becoming even more troublesome than before and individuals sought for retirement as early as their early 50s unable to bear workplace stress. Such stress-related problems in workplace are present globally, costs every country’s economy millions of dollars annually and its effect is wide-spread at the occupational, personal and societal levels.
Occupational stress has the ability to affect our quality of life at every level-it prevents us from delivering excellent work or meet demands at workplace, increases the number of leaves taken, productivity is lost and the expenses incurred due to mental and physical health issues are costly. But when we analyze the underlying cause behind such occupational stress in the first place, it is primarily due to the inability of the individual to carry out the overwhelming demands of the workplace. When there is overpouring work, the individual loses his/her ability to deal with stress and this is further aggravated by poor diet routines that once again decrease our body’s ability to deal with stress. Food has always played an integral role in affecting the quality of life of individuals as it has the ability to improve cognitive skills and decrease negative moods such as depression, anxiety and stress. While different foods prove to be advantageous in different ways vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins are great against diseases and disabilities. B vitamins play an essential role in various cortical processes involved in metabolism such as in the methylation of homocysteine to methionine that’s absolutely necessary for DNA synthesis, repair and other methylation reactions in the central nervous system. When this methylation process is disrupted it increases the likelihood of inflammation, oxidative stress and damage to mitochondria and DNA strands.
Studies Related to Vitamin B Supplements Acting Against Stress
The world now runs on medicines and supplements to pull us through everyday hurdles. Right from small kids to elderly people most of the individuals worldwide rely on supplements for strength and vitality as we all follow haphazard lifestyle practices and irregular eating patterns that’s hard on our body. Despite the widespread consumption of these vitamins and supplements we don’t have many clinical trials or research conducted analyzing the impact of these multivitamins on psychological strain. 2 studies observed reduction in stress levels after multivitamin supplements were given for 28 and 30 days. In one study, Schlebusch and colleagues used a well-designed protocol and screened for a highly stressed sample which after a duration of 30 days reduced stress and improved well-being. Another research team, Carroll and colleagues employed 80 male participants who were supplemented over 28 days and results showed that these participants witnessed reduction in stress levels compared to the placebo group. There are numerous advertisements shown for various supplements but their impact on human health is not proved without doubt. A research team analyzed whether a multivitamin supplement available in Australia that mainly consisted of B vitamins was helpful in improving work related stress after administering it for 90 days. 60 participants were recruited for the study and all of them completed a 3-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which each of the individual’s mood, anxiety, demands and strain were assessed. Results showed that the intervention group experienced significant reduction in personal strain from weeks 4 to 12 while the placebo group experienced an increase in strain from weeks 4 to 12.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled Australian study tried to understand the relationship between B-vitamin supplementation, workplace stress and mood measures and also wanted to analyze whether dispensing vitamin B supplements for around 6 months had the ability to improve stress-related problems in healthy, working individuals. The study group’s secondary aim was to examine the mechanisms underpinning any mood or workplace stress enhancing actions of B vitamins by looking at the relationship between cognitive, biological and cardiovascular variables over these 6 months. The team chose 200 full-time participants who were aged between 30 and 65 years and reported feeling stressed in the workplace. The team excluded those individuals who suffered from psychiatric or neurological disorders, disorders affecting food metabolism, had diabetes, consumed alcohol regularly, suffered vision problems or suffered from chronic diseases. They also ruled out those participants who were pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant, were taking anticoagulation meds or psychoactive meds that included antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, illicit drugs or significant cognitive enhancing drugs. All the participants were asked to fill five online questionnaires and were screened over the telephone for their eligibility in participating in the study. Blood samples were collected and all of them were given a light breakfast before completing a cognitive test battery. All of them underwent two testing sessions at the end of which each of them were provided with supplements that could last for as much as 6 months. All the participants were asked to comment on their mood, stress levels and general health from the first to fifth month post randomization and during their second visit at the end of study period all of them were asked to return any unused supplements, if any.
Primary outcomes measured include the effect of supplements on work-related stress while secondary outcomes include measuring cognitive stress, mood, health, personality, cardiovascular, biochemical, genetic and neuroimaging measures. Stress was assessed with the help of numerous self-reported questionnaires that will be used to assess stress, mood and general health. Stress symptoms were analyzed using a perceived stress scale (PSS), depression and anxiety was measured using the Beck Depressive Inventory II (BDI-II) and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory respectively. Dietary habits were inferred using a food frequency questionnaire.
Separate mixed linear models were conducted to test the effects of treatment group (active vs. placebo) and time (baseline vs. 6 months) on blood plasma concentrations of homocysteine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and red blood cell folate. The treatment group had significant vitamin B6 and B12 concentrations indicating that the biomarker levels increased after treatment. There was a significant group by time interaction for plasma homocysteine concentration with the treatment group resulting in significantly reduced homocysteine but folate levels did not change as a result of treatment. The treatment also led to an increase in PCC (NAA, choline and creatine) concentrations. The study showed that 6 months intervention with B vitamin supplements increased plasma vitamin B6 and B12 levels and reduced blood plasma homocysteine levels. Vitamin B6 levels were associated with increased choline and creatine whereas increased B12 levels were linked to increased creatine concentrations. All these provide a green signal for the use of B vitamin supplements in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and promoting neural metabolic processes. This is the first study to show the efficiency of high-dose B vitamin multivitamin supplementation in modulating the relationship between neural and blood biomarkers of oxidative stress. The supplementation helped in reducing the blood markers for oxidative stress and increasing the brain markers for oxidative metabolism and myelination. B vitamins definitely play an integral role in regulating brain health, keeping us from getting stressed and alleviating diseases and disability.
A meta-analysis of eight studies that focused on the effect of multivitamins on mood and psychological state found that supplementing individuals with B vitamins reduced perceived stress, mild psychiatric symptoms and anxiety.
Reducing Occupational Stress with a B-vitamin Focused Intervention: A Randomized Clinical Trial: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-122
The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism & Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316433/
B Vitamins & the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose & Efficacy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
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Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz of First Eat Right clinic, is the Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Bangalore. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Pune. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Hyderabad. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Chennai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Mumbai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Delhi. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Kolkata.