Fact or Fiction – B Vitamins Increase Energy Levels and Reduce Stress

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Answer: Fiction

The vast majority of energy drinks and B-complex supplements contain large doses of B vitamins and are advertised as aids to deal with stress and depression, as well as increase energy levels.

The reality is that while B vitamins can help release energy from food, most patients get adequate amounts of Vitamin B from their diet alone.

Consuming excess B vitamins will likely not be life-threatening as they are water-soluble and would result in the bulk of it getting flushed out of the body.

Pharmacists should stay cognizant, however, that chronic use of excessive B6 (doses greater than 600 mg/day) can lead to neuropathy.

That being said, geriatrics may have reduced B12 absorption so they may actually benefit from extra B12 to avoid the risk of anemia, but only if they have a confirmed deficiency.

Only a patient with a confirmed deficiency in B12 will likely experience improved energy levels with supplementation.

Patients should be counselled on proven tactics to mitigate and cope with stress. It is important to explain to patients that there are no pills that specifically relieve stress, and that lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake can help with overall stress management. In addition, proper sleep hygiene and increased exercise can form a strong foundation for battling life’s stressors.