Dear Dr. Walt,
A friend told me that low levels of B vitamins can cause depression. I’ve had depression on and off my entire life. Should I give it a try?
—Melancholic in Michigan
According to the experts at Mayo, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, and folate play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood.
And, studies have shown that low levels of these B vitamin may be linked to depression.
Low levels of these vitamin can result either from eating a poor diet or not being able to absorb the vitamins you consume.
Older adults, vegetarians, and people with digestive disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease often have trouble getting enough B-12.
These vitamin levels can be easily measured with a blood test by your doctor.
If your level is low, treatment is easy and very inexpensive.
So, if you have a defficiency in one or more of these B vitamins, taking a supplement may help; however, no supplement can replace proven depression treatments such as psychological counseling from a licensed Christian counselor and, possibly, antidepressant medications.