Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Manchester in England have determined that adding high-dose B vitamins is better at reducing symptoms of schizophrenia than traditional treatment alone.
The study examined the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on symptoms of schizophrenia by analyzing previous worldwide studies. Schizophrenia, usually treated with antipsychotic drugs, affects about 1 percent of people in the world and is one of the most disabling and costly long-term mental health conditions.
Antipsychotic drugs provide short-term therapy with patients experiencing remission of symptoms in the first few months of treatment, but long-term impacts are less positive, with 80 percent of patients relapsing within five years after treatment.
"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," Joseph Firth, of the University of Manchester's Division of Psychology and Mental Health and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed."
Researchers identified 18 clinical trials with 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia and found that patients who additionally used high-dose B vitamins had greater reduction of symptoms than those using low-dose B vitamins.
"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," Firth said. "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."
The study was published in Psychological Medicine.