High dose B vitamins may have a positive impact on mood, according to Australian research funded by Blackmores, which indicated that vitamin B stimulates areas of the brain involved in reward, pleasure and motivation.
The findings, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, used MRI scans to determine how Blackmores Executive B Stress Formula supplementation affected participants’ brain activity.
The randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study by Swinburne University found, following supplementation with the Blackmores vitamin B product, the functional connectivity between the right caudate, the posterior cingulate cortex and the core of the default mode network – a major resting state network comprising regions important to internal cognitive functions – was increased.
“We know B vitamins can be beneficial during times of stress,” Blackmores Institute Director Dr Lesley Braun said. “When we talk to people about their experience with high dose B vitamins, like Blackmores Executive B Stress Formula, they say they feel better taking it, but they’re not sure why. Now, we have the MRI scans that show that it is activating brain centres associated with pleasure and motivation.
“While the trial showed improvements in mood, psychological and workplace stress outcomes in both the active and placebo group, the MRI results clearly show an increase in brain connectivity in the active group.
“The key takeout is, those taking the supplement saw an improvement in connectivity in the areas of the brain associated with pleasure and motivation.”
The study authors recommended that future studies be designed to take into account of any placebo effect, to enable conclusions on the subjective effects of vitamin B on stress.
Note: The study was funded by Blackmores which provided the Blackmores Executive B Stress Formula supplement. Blackmores had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analyses or interpretation of data, the writing of the manuscript or in the decision to publish the results.