Researchers from Australia have discovered that children's happiness and mental growth are significantly impacted by the amount of B vitamins they consume. Children with low vitamin B levels were shown in the study to have poor mental growth as well as behavior problems.
One of the researchers, Carly Herbison, said the study's findings showed a direct link between low levels of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, and folate.
"B vitamins are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which modulates behavior in humans and can contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness," she said.
Vitamin B12 is needed for the body to properly produce blood cells, maintain brain function, and synthesize DNA. Foods rich in B vitamins include fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products, as well as beans, peas, and leafy green vegetables.
Researchers studied medical records of those who took part in the West Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Researchers analyzed the diets and vitamin B intake of participants.
The mental health of the children was also assessed, using the Youth Self Report (YSR), which gave scores for behaviors such as depression withdrawal, aggression, and delinquency.
"Previous studies have shown that externalizing mental health and behavior problems developed during adolescence are related to a higher risk of offending and substance abuse later in life," explained Herbison. "What this study looked at was the relationship between diet, specifically B vitamin intake, and the presence of these externalizing behaviors."
"There is a great message in this in how diet may help prevent mental health problems. Improving what our children eat and ensuring they are getting essential B-vitamins from foods such as nuts, seeds, whole-grains, legumes and fruit and vegetables can have a really positive impact on their mental health and well being," said senior study author, Professor Wendy Oddy.
The study was headed by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Source: Medical Daily