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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Katie Williams

Marmite's high vitamin levels can 'help anxiety' according to new study

Love it or hate it, Marmite holds a high level of vitamins and can help with anxiety, according to a new study.

Through research conducted at Reading University, they found the high levels of vitamins could help curb feelings of anxiety and depression. As the Independent reports, the yeast extract spread carries high levels of B vitamins, which can impact the brain's chemistry.

Looking into whether high doses of B6 could reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, 300 adults with an average age of 23 was included in the month-long study. Once split into groups, they received daily supplements of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, or placebo tablets to take for four weeks.

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While the participants took around 50 times more than the recommended amount of vitamin B6, totalling to around 70g, the study found a "significant" reduction in anxiety and depression in those who took it. Meanwhile those on B12 saw 'no effect' in comparison to those who took the placebo tablet. Marmite contains high levels of B12 and B6, and the researchers added that supplements would have to be taken alongside the spread for positive effects to be felt.

Dr David Field, lead author of the study, said: "Vitamin B6 helps the body produce a specific chemical messenger that inhibits impulses in the brain, and our study links this calming effect with reduced anxiety among the participants."

Field added: “Many foods, including tuna, chickpeas and many fruits and vegetables, contain vitamin B6. However, the high doses used in this trial suggest that supplements would be necessary to have a positive effect on mood."

Dr Field also stressed that just taking vitamins would unlikely be enough to cure depression but alongside other aids such as therapy, would boost their effects.

“It is important to acknowledge that this research is at an early stage and the effect of vitamin B6 on anxiety in our study was quite small compared to what you would expect from medication. However, nutrition-based interventions produce far fewer unpleasant side effects than drugs, and so in the future people might prefer them as an intervention.

“One potential option would be to combine vitamin B6 supplements with talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to boost their effect.”


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