A recent study on the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on symptoms of schizophrenia has found 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.
The study, which was funded by The Medical Research Council and University of Manchester, reviewed all randomized clinical trials reporting effects of vitamin or mineral supplements on psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
“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,” says lead author Joseph Firth, based at the University’s Division of Psychology and Mental Health.
“This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed.”
In what is the first meta-analysis carried out on this topic, the researchers identified 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia.
B-vitamin interventions which used higher dosages or combined several vitamins were consistently effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms, whereas those which used lower doses were ineffective.
Early implementation is more effective
Also, the available evidence also suggests that B-vitamin supplements may be most beneficial when implemented early on, as b-vitamins were most likely to reduce symptoms when used in studies of patients with shorter illness durations.
Firth adds: “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.”
“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.”
Co-author Jerome Sarris, Professor of Integrative Mental Health at Western Sydney University, adds: “This builds on existing evidence of other food-derived supplements, such as certain amino-acids, been beneficial for people with schizophrenia.
“These new findings also fit with our latest research examining how multi-nutrient treatments can reduce depression and other disorders.”
Resource: University of Manchester