What is it?
Different multivitamin supplements use different ingredients. Some multivitamins have different formulations for men, women and children. A multivitamin may include B vitamins, vitamin C, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and essential minerals.
How does it work?
More research is needed to understand how multivitamins might help depression. Some people believe vitamins B9 (folate), B12 and D may assist in treating depression. Multivitamins often include these vitamins.
Is it effective?
There is no scientific evidence to date on multivitamins for the treatment of depression. Scientific studies in people with depressive symptoms are needed. Many studies have been carried out in people without depression.
Are there any disadvantages?
Some supplements can be harmful or ineffective if you take the wrong dose. For example, large doses of Vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage. Talk to your health care professional if you are thinking of taking supplements.
Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body. Taking too much may cause toxicity. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and/or poor appetite.
Where do you get it?
Vitamins are present naturally in food. You can buy vitamin supplements in pharmacies, health food shops, and online health shops. They usually come in tablet, capsule, powder, or oral liquid form. Vitamins may also be given as an injection by a doctor.
There is no evidence at this stage to recommend multivitamins as a treatment for depression.
- Harris E, Kirk J, Rowsell R, Vitetta L, Sali A, Scholey AB et al. The effect of multivitamin supplementation on mood and stress in healthy older men. Human Psychopharmacology. 2011;26 :560-67.
- Long S-J, Benton D. Effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and mood in nonclinical samples: a meta-analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2013; 75: 144-53.
- America A, Milling LS. The efficacy of vitamins for reducing or preventing depression symptoms in healthy individuals: natural remedy or placebo? Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2008; 31:157-67.
Last reviewed and updated: 16 March 2015