A meta-analysis of 18 clinical trials has shown that B vitamins are crucial when treating schizophrenia symptoms
Joseph Firth authored the paper revealing this important treatment step in the journal “Psychological Medicine“.
Firth, and his colleagues in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health, at the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom, analyzed the data.
These clinical trials involved 832 psychiatric patients who were already undergoing antipsychotic treatment. The focus of the trials was to examine the effects of supplemental vitamins on these patients.
These studies revealed that vitamin B greatly reduces schizophrenic symptoms. However, this is only shown to work when combined with antipsychotic medication and psycho-social treatments.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is an immensely complex mental illness. It encompasses many diverse manifestations. Each sufferer will experience it in a unique form.
There are many core symptoms that are present when a doctor gives a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The patient will usually present to a clinic in a state of psychosis, whereby they appear to be confusing non-reality with reality.
The most obvious of the many symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, and cognitive dysfunction. The sufferer may appear physically agitated and may have given up caring for themselves.
Unfortunately, there is very little understood about this mental illness. There is currently no cure. All treatments merely treat its symptoms.
How do B Vitamins Help?
The B vitamins are essential for brain function. They work in an anti-stress fashion and boost the immune system during times of stress.
When people are low in B vitamins, as well as experiencing many other physical symptoms, they will generally develop cognitive issues.
It is not fully understood why they cause improvements. It could be that the brain functions that lead to schizophrenic symptoms get a positive boost from these vitamin supplements.
Altogether there are 8 B vitamins
The B vitamins recommended by the study are B6, B8, and B12.
- Vitamin B6 is pyridoxine. It is essential to the formation of many brain chemicals. It influences processes and development within the brain.
- Vitamin B8 is Inositol. It is a major contributor enabling the effectiveness of neurotransmitters. It also has mood enhancing properties.
- Vitamin B12 is cyanocobalamin. There are studies that suggest that B12 deficiency can lead to brain shrinkage, memory loss and depression.
Current Schizophrenia Treatments
The treatments currently offered to people who suffer schizophrenia have limited success. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is that the sufferer may not believe that they have the disorder in the first place.
As a result, many will not stay on the anti-psychotic drugs prescribed to them. Many sufferers describe that the drugs only enable them to push their delusions and hallucinations into the background.
Sufferers claim that even though this makes it easier for them to get on with daily activities, they still believe those delusions and hallucinations are real. So many will abandon the treatment program.
There are also side-effects to these drugs, such as weight increase and diabetes.
Sufferers also require constant psycho-social treatments with psychiatrists. They participate in cognitive behavioral therapy in order to draw them into reality.
Who Develops Schizophrenia?
Current data shows that schizophrenia will show up during the late teens and early twenties. It is mostly men who become diagnosed, and it is only 1% of the population who develop it.
Unfortunately, 70% of sufferers will exacerbate their symptoms by using drugs and alcohol.
Whilst it isn’t clear, schizophrenia appears to develop from a variety of factors. In some cases, it appears that it is genetically inherited. Or it could be due to a chemical imbalance of dopamine in the brain.
Stressful experiences sometimes appear to trigger schizophrenia
It can be after a traumatic experience that a sufferer will first present to a hospital.
However, it is not certain if it may have actually been the development of schizophrenia that triggered the traumatic event.
For the same reason, it is not known if drugs like LSD and cannabis can cause schizophrenia, or if they exacerbate an already underlying condition.
Mental health is seriously underfunded by most governments around the world. We hope that further research can be undertaken to enable sufferers of schizophrenia to one day to be completely cured.