Victims of stroke who regularly take B-vitamins are better able to combat depression.

Researchers demonstrated for the first time that they could reduce the risk of depressive symptoms after stroke with the help of vitamins, said Osvaldo Almeida, research director at The Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing.

“Previous work had suggested that certain vitamins could have a role in preventing depression,” the journal Annals of Neurology quoted Almeida as saying.

“However, we found that the stroke survivors who took daily folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 were half as likely to become depressed,” according to a statement of The Western Australian Centre.

“This is an important finding, as depression is common in stroke survivors - one in three stroke sufferers is affected,” it said.

Almeida said previous research had found that B-vitamins could alter the concentration of homocysteine, an amino acid. High concentrations of this amino acid had been linked to depression.

But he cautioned people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease against taking high dosages of B-vitamins.

“Taking high doses of B-vitamins has not been adequately studied and may not result in a protective effect,” Almeida said.

“In fact, there is some evidence that the use of these vitamins may cause cardiovascular problems in some circumstances,” he added.