Does Vitamin B12 Help Anxiety? (The Truth)

Updated on July 21, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
does b12 really help anxiety

Does vitamin B12 really help people with anxiety?

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause feelings of fear, worry, and unease, and can significantly impact a person's daily life and well-being.

Many individuals seek different treatment options to help ease their anxiety symptoms, including natural remedies and supplements. One supplement that is often suggested for anxiety relief is vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin. 

But does vitamin B12 help with anxiety? Let's explore the truth behind this claim and understand the role of B12 in the body.

Understanding the Role of B12 in the Body

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in several bodily functions, including nerve health and the formation of red blood cells. It is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is not stored in the body and needs to be obtained from dietary sources or supplements on a regular basis. They primarily found b12 in animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. However, it can also be found in some fortified plant-based foods and supplements.

The functions of Vitamin B12 in the body are diverse and essential for overall health. Here are some key roles of B12:

  1. Nerve Health: B12 is vital for the proper functioning and maintenance of the nervous system.(1) It aids in the production of myelin, a protective sheath that surrounds nerve fibers and helps facilitate efficient nerve signaling. Deficiency in B12 can lead to nerve damage and neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and even mood disturbances.
  2. Red Blood Cell Formation: B12 is necessary for the production and maturation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. Without adequate levels of B12, the body may produce larger, irregularly shaped red blood cells, leading to a condition called megaloblastic anemia.(2)
  3. DNA Synthesis: B12 is involved in the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material present in all cells. It plays a crucial role in cell division and growth, making it essential for the development and maintenance of tissues and organs.(3)

While Vitamin B12 is undoubtedly crucial for overall health, its direct effect on anxiety is still a topic of debate and ongoing research. Some studies suggest a potential link between B12 deficiency and mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. However, more research is needed to determine the exact relationship and whether B12 supplementation can effectively alleviate anxiety symptoms.

It's essential to note that anxiety is a complex and multifaceted condition with various underlying factors. While B12 deficiency may contribute to anxiety in some individuals, it is not the sole cause. Other factors, such as genetics, environmental triggers (such as PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), lifestyle, and other dietary deficiencies (such as a B9 or folic acid deficiency), also play a significant role in anxiety development.

In conclusion, Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient with multiple functions in the body, including nerve health and red blood cell formation. While B12 deficiency may affect mental health and contribute to anxiety symptoms, more research is needed to establish a definitive link.

The Connection Between B12 and Anxiety

Researchers have long studied the link between B12 deficiency and mental health, including anxiety. B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin. Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role to support your brain and maintain proper cognitive function and overall mental well-being. Several scientific studies have explored the relationship between B12 deficiency and anxiety, and the results have been insightful.

One study found that individuals with low levels of B12 were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.(4) Another study discovered that B12 supplementation improved symptoms of anxiety and reduced overall stress levels in participants, leading to the prevention of disease.(5)

B12 deficiency can impact mental health due to its role in producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and brain chemicals. Serotonin helps to regulate anxiety levels and promote a sense of calm and well-being, as well as stimulate overall confidence without social anxiety. When B12 levels are low, serotonin production may be hindered, leading to increased anxiety and depression that can affect your ability to function normally.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Recognizing the symptoms of B12 deficiency is crucial in understanding its potential impact on anxiety. While anxiety is not the only symptom of B12 deficiency, it can be prevalent in individuals with inadequate levels of this vitamin. Healthy levels of vitamin B12 are essential for your overall well-being and mental clarity. 

Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency include:

  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Memory loss and cognitive difficulties
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Pale or yellowish skin

It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by various factors.

How to Use B12 to Help with Anxiety

If you suspect that your anxiety may be linked to a lack of B12, then supplementing with vitamin B12 or including it in your diet may be beneficial. This will allow you to regulate this crucial vitamin to ease anxiety and promote a healthy brain.

Here are some tips on how to use B12 to help with anxiety:

  1. Increase B12-rich foods in your diet: Consuming foods that are naturally high in B12 can help ensure adequate levels. Some sources of B12 that you can include in your dietary intake for anti-anxiety are meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals.
  2. Consider B12 supplements: If dietary changes are not sufficient, high-quality B12 supplements can be taken to boost levels and help reduce symptoms, including vitamin B12 injections. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen to determine the appropriate dose to relieve your anxiety and mood disorders.
  3. Monitor B12 levels: Regularly monitoring vitamin B12 levels through blood tests can help ensure optimal levels and determine if additional supplements are necessary.

While B12 supplementation can be beneficial for those who are vitamin B12 deficient, it is important to note that it may not be a standalone solution for your mental health. It is recommended for people with anxiety and depression use a comprehensive approach that includes various strategies, such as therapy, lifestyle changes, and stress-management techniques.

Best Nootropics to Help with Anxiety

In addition to B12, certain nootropics have shown promise in helping to alleviate anxiety. Nootropics, also known as smart drugs, are supplements or drugs that enhance cognitive function and improve mental performance.

Here are some nootropic options that have been reported to help treat anxiety:

  • NooCube: Known for its ability to combat mental fatigue and brain fog, NooCube contains ingredients that increase attention and concentration, reduce stress, support healthy eye-brain connections, improve focus, and boost memory retention.
  • Mind Lab Pro: This premium nootropic brand contains a blend of ingredients specifically designed to enhance cognitive function, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental performance.
  • Brain Pill: Brain Pill is formulated with natural ingredients that support brain health, improve focus, enhance memory, and make you less anxious.
  • L-Theanine: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves that has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety without causing drowsiness.

Conclusion: Does B12 Really Help With Anxiety?

Vitamin B12 supplementation has been shown to ease symptoms of anxiety, as it boosts the body's ability to promote serotonin and improve your mood. Using this B super-vitamin alongside nootropics for anxiety will effectively reduce anxiety levels.

While B12 deficiency has been linked to anxiety, it is essential to approach mental health with a holistic perspective. Addressing anxiety may require a combination of strategies, including therapy, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, and potential supplementation for adequate B12 intake.

If you suspect that your anxiety may be related to B12 deficiency, consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the appropriate course of action.