Vitamin B6 supplementation may reduce symptoms of depression in college women taking oral contraceptives, according to a small new study published in theJournal of Dietary Supplements.

The study explains that oral contraceptive (OC) users have a heightened risk of low plasma concentrations of vitamin B6, a cofactor in the tryptophan-serotonin pathway, which is critical to mood regulation. The study was designed to determine if vitamin B6 supplementation could reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood states in OC users.

The study included 8 participants between the ages of 18 – 25 years, who had used OC consistently for at least one year and did not take dietary supplements. The participants were given 100mg vitamin B6 or placebo daily for four weeks, had a four-week washout period, and then took the alternate treatment for four weeks. Participants maintained their normal exercise and eating patterns, and recorded their tablet consumption daily.

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The findings: Depression scores were reduced 20% in the supplement group, as compared to an 11% rise in the placebo group (p = 0.046). Mood state scores were not significantly impacted by B6 consumption. Vitamin B6 status rose significantly following supplementation

The researchers concluded: “These preliminary data support a growing literature suggesting the benefits of B6 supplementation for reducing symptoms of depression in young women using OC.”