Higher vitamin B 6 intake is associated with lower depression and anxiety risk in women but not in men: A large cross-sectional study

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2020 Oct;90(5-6):484-492. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000589. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Objective: The prevalence of depression and anxiety is increasing worldwide. Diet as a modifiable factor for mental health has received great attention. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association of vitamin B6 intake with depression and anxiety. Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed among 3362 adults in 2011. Anxiety and depression were evaluated using an Iranian validated version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire. Dietary intakes were evaluated by a validated 106 item self-administered Willett-format dish-based semi quantitative food-frequency questionnaire (DFQ). Results: The mean intake of vitamin B6 (mg/day) was significantly lower in anxious (1.93 ± 0.74 vs. 2.0 ± 0.74; P = 0.02) and depressed (1.86 ± 0.72 vs. 1.99 ± 0.74; P = 0.001) people than healthy participants. The lower level of vitamin B6 intake (tertile 1), after adjustment for the impacts of various confounding variables, in total population and women was associated with the higher odds of depression (OR = 1.41; 95% CI: 1.19, 2.31; P < 0.001. OR = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.08, 2. 21; P = 0.02, respectively). Also, the lower level of vitamin B6 intake (tertile 1) in total population and women was associated with the higher odds of anxiety (OR = 2.30; 95% CI: 1.31, 4.04; P < 0. 001, OR = 2.30; 95% CI: 1.19, 4.46; P = 0.04). Conclusion: The association of lower intakes vitamin B6 intake with increased risk of depression and anxiety was clearly supported by current study. A reasonable approach to tackle these disorders could be the improvement of nutritional status, accordingly large randomized controlled trials are suggested for providing more evidence.

Keywords: Vitamin B6; anxiety; depression; psychological disorders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin B 6*


  • Vitamin B 6