Vitamin B supplements reduce schizophrenia symptoms, review finds

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The evidence suggests vitamin B supplements may be most beneficial when initiated early in the disease process.

A review of available evidence, published in the journalPsychological Medicine , suggests that add-on treatment with high-dose B vitamins – including B6, B8 and B12 – can significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia more than standard treatments alone.

Based on data from 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment, high dose supplementation or a combination of several vitamins, consistently reduced psychiatric symptoms. Low-dose supplementation was found to be ineffective. The evidence also suggests that B vitamin supplements may be most beneficial when implemented early.

Lead author Joseph Firth, from the University of Manchester, said: “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.

“This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed.”

“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,” he explained. “There is also some indication that these overall effects may be driven by larger benefits among subgroups of patients who have relevant genetic or dietary nutritional deficiencies.”

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