People who consume vitamin and mineral supplements appear to be in better mood than supplement non-users, according to the results of a meta-analysis published last month in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioural Medicine.
Researchers analyzed eight double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials that evaluated the effects of multivitamin and mineral supplements on aspects of mood in a total of 1,292 healthy men and women. The supplements contained varying levels of vitamins and minerals, and were administered for at least 28 days. Stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, anxiety, depression, elation, perceived energy levels, confusion, and agreeableness versus hostility, were among the aspects of mood evaluated in the trials before and after treatment.
When the researchers looked at trials that examined stress, supplemented subjects had a 65 per cent lower risk of perceived stress compared to those that received a placebo. The analysis uncovered a 70 per cent lower risk of mild psychiatric symptoms, a 68 per cent lower risk of anxiety, a 73 per cent reduction in experiencing fatigue and a 77 per cent lower risk of confusion among supplemented patients.
Happiness and decreased hostility levels were also more likely among supplement users. Supplements that contained high doses of B vitamins tended to elicit greater benefits than those that had lower amounts.
According to the researchers, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the diets of the samples in the studies evaluated, did not provide optimal nutrition. They go on to say that there was a greater response to the supplements that offered doses higher than those suggested by Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), calls into question whether RDAs provide intakes that adequately meet the needs of the brain. The present findings also call into question the existing wisdom that, in industrialized societies, the consumption of diets containing sufficient energy and protein will naturally provide sufficient levels of micronutrients.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements have a beneficial effect on many aspects of mood and mild psychiatric symptoms in healthy populations. The possibility that micronutrients might be beneficial in clinical populations warrants further investigation.
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