Addition of B-vitamins improves outcomes for schizophrenia patients

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) highlights that schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability and nearly 1.1 percent of the adult population of the United States live with this problem. Currently, the treatment of schizophrenia includes counseling and antipsychotic drugs that assist in alleviating the symptoms of hallucination and delusions.

Though such a treatment is effective in the short run, the long-terms outcomes are poor. According to the statistics available, 80 percent of the patients relapse within five years. This makes the disease one of the costliest long-term medical conditions in the U.S., as well as worldwide. According to a study, when used along with antipsychotic drugs, certain vitamins and minerals are effective in improving the symptomatic outcomes of schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucination, concentration problems, emotionlessness, agitation and withdrawal from the society.

By adding high dose B-vitamins, including vitamins B6, B8 and B12, one can witness significant improvement in the reduction of the overall symptoms of the disease. The study revealed that administration of B-vitamins along with the current medications is helpful in treating the disorder.

Higher dosages of B-vitamins prove to be boon for schizophrenia

The above study, titled “The effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on symptoms of schizophrenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis” and published in the journal Psychological Medicine in February 2017, reports that B-vitamin interventions, with higher dosages of B-vitamins or combined dosages of several vitamins, were effective in reducing the psychiatric symptoms of schizophrenia. However, treatment including lower dosages was significantly ineffective in addressing the challenges of schizophrenia.

The study also found that the effectiveness of the dosages of vitamins increased when they were administered during the early phased of the disorder. The reason for this is that B-vitamins are most likely to reduce the symptoms when used for short-duration illnesses. This finding is an add on over the existing evidence that suggests that other food supplements, such as certain amino acids, being beneficial in the case of schizophrenia.

Joseph Firth, the lead author of the review said, “Looking at all of the data from the clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B-vitamins effectively improve the outcomes for some patients. This could be an important advance, given the fact that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed.” However, Firth disclosed that different studies have yielded considerably different results. Therefore, more studies are needed to understand the exact mechanism of these supplements on the brain.

Understanding multiple benefits of B-vitamins

B-vitamins have been considered important for the brain functioning as they directly affect the methylation cycle, production of monoamine, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis, and maintenance of phospholipids, such as myelin. Vitamin B6 is a common term for the three distinct compounds that include pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. This vitamin is very important for glycolysis, methylation cycle and reactivation of glutathione, which is an innate and essential antioxidant that plays vital roles in the functioning of the brain.

Similarly, vitamin B8, or also known as folate, is needed for proper one-carbon metabolism and is therefore needed in the synthesis of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and DNA, as well as in the production of phospholipid. Evidences suggest that folate deficiency is common among people suffering from mood disorders.

Vitamin B12, or also known as cobalamin, is an essential cofactor in the one-carbon metabolism, which is important for the synthesis of thymidine that incorporates to DNA. It is also needed for the production of monoamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline and serotonin, and the maintenance of myelin. As these bodily mechanisms are very crucial for the proper functioning of the brain, it is essential to incorporate B-vitamins in the treatment regimen for schizophrenia.

Recovery road map

Despite increased evidence that the symptoms of schizophrenia can be reduced by administering high dosages of B-vitamins, recovery mostly depends on effective treatment offered by professional mental health services providers. As schizophrenia can lead to long-term disability, early treatment is crucial for faster recovery.

If you know someone who is suffering from schizophrenia and needs treatment, contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline immediately to know more about the options of recovery from the mental health disorder. Chat online or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 to access reliable assistance for the treatment of schizophrenia.