If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about COVID-19, you are not alone. The virus is dominating news cycles and inundating health care providers. With so much uncertainty surrounding its increasing impact on daily life, it can be easy to feel concerned, overwhelmed, and afraid.
All that worry and stress is going to deplete your supply of B vitamins. B vitamins help with stress by working with brain chemistry and balancing neurotransmitters, helping to achieve balance over stress. There are several B vitamins, and each one works differently with your body to battle stress.
- B1, Thiamine – Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is important in keeping the nervous system healthy and plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental attitude. This water-based vitamin is essential to converting glucose into energy. B1 can help stabilize mood and improve memory and concentration.
- B3, Niacin – Vitamin B3 supports the functions of the nervous and digestive system. The body can produce niacin from the amino acid L-tryptophan. A deficiency in B3 can cause depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances. Niacin functions to help the body release energy from carbohydrates. This can control blood sugar and maintain nervous system function.
- B12, Cyanocobalamin – Vitamin B12 is often referred to as the memory vitamin because the organ that depends on it the most is the brain. B12 deficiencies may cause mental confusion, neurological changes and make it more difficult to cope with stress. This water-based vitamin is significant in the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin and the mood hormone serotonin.
- B6, Pyridoxine – Vitamin B6 can help the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety. Vitamin B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety.
- B9, Folic Acid – Folic acid is an essential vitamin needed for energy. The body is unable to produce folic acid on its own. If there is a deficiency in folic acid, people may experience depression and fatigue, which may produce higher levels of stress.
Unlike many other vitamins and minerals, we don’t store B vitamins in our bodies – they’re water-soluble, so they’re flushed out within hours if not used. During normal times, most of us get all the B vitamins we need from our diet. However, during particularly stressful times, you may want to consider adding a high-quality B vitamin supplement to your diet.