Researchers found that while treating schizophrenia patients, add-on treatments with high-dose B-vitamins, including B6, B8 and B12, can considerably reduce symptoms of mental disorder.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which a person cannot understand the difference in real and imaginary and is affecting around one percent of the population.
The findings, appeared in journal of Psychological Medicine, B-vitamin interventions, which used higher dosages or combined several vitamins were consistently effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms, whereas those which used lower doses were ineffective.
“Looking at all of the data from clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B vitamins effectively improve outcomes for some patients,” said lead study author Joseph Firth University of Manchester.
“This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed,” Firth added.
Currently, treatment is based around the administration of antipsychotic drugs.
The patients typically experience remission of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions within the first few months of treatment, long-term outcomes are poor; 80% of patients relapse within five years.
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The team reviewed all randomised clinical trials reporting effects of vitamin or mineral supplements on psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
They identified 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia.
The results indicated that B-vitamin supplements may be most beneficial when implemented early on, as b-vitamins were most likely to reduce symptoms when used in studies of patients with shorter illness durations.
“High-dose B-vitamins may be useful for reducing residual symptoms in people with schizophrenia, although there were significant differences among the findings of the studies we looked at,” Firth explained.
The researcher stated more studies are now needed to discover how nutrients act on the brain to improve mental health.