B-group vitamins may help the concentration of those experiencing first episode psychosis, according to a study published in Biological Psychiatry.

Psychosis is often a precursor to developing schizophrenia, but psychotic symptoms are also associated with bipolar disorder and severe depression. Previous studies have found that vitamin B12, B6, and folic acid helps to improve symptoms of those living with schizophrenia. 

The study included 100 young people attending the Orygen Youth Health’s Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC). Participants were either given a once per day B vitamin supplement or a placebo over the course of 12 weeks. During the study period, patients’ homocysteine levels, symptoms, and cognitive functioning were assessed. 

Investigators found that participants who took the B vitamin supplements performed better in completing concentration and attention tasks over the course of the 12 weeks. The study authors suggest that although vitamin B does not improve concentration and attention to tasks, it may protect these skills from declining.

"Psychosis is a diverse condition where everybody presents with different symptoms and a different biological profile. What was particularly interesting was that the participants who had abnormally high homocysteine levels at baseline were most responsive to the B-vitamin supplements, in terms of improvement in attention,” Kelly Allott, DPsych, from Orygen Youth Health’s EPPIC, said in the press release. “The results of this study support a more personalized approach to vitamin supplementation in first episode psychosis, suggesting those with elevated homocysteine are likely to benefit most."

Reference:
B-group vitamins can improve concentration among people with first episode psychosis [News Release] Parkville, Australia; January 14, 2019. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/otnc-bvc011419.php. Accessed October 6, 2020.