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Can vitamins save stressed out teachers?

hand holding a vitamin
An Australian study will test whether multi-vitamins can help manage teachers’ stress levels.

Think your teenager is stressed about back to school? Imagine his or her teacher, who has to face a roomful of not-always-dedicated scholars.

An Australian University embarking on a study to determine whether multivitamins could lower occupational stress levels (and resulting health-related compensation claims and lost productivity) is focusing on teachers as a key group of participants. Last week, an Australian court doled out nearly $800,00 to a teacher who claimed he suffered a nervous breakdown that left him unable to work after teaching a high school class. That class included regular fistfights. And an incident with a flamethrower. While flammable power tools may not be the norm in many classrooms, researchers believe teachers are prime candidates for testing due to the high demands of their job, according to the Herald Sun.

“Organizing 30 children, for instance, for a whole day — I would find that pretty stressful,’’Dr. Luke Downey of the Swinburne University of Technology told the Sun.

For the study, some of the teachers will take two multivitamins with a high concentration of B vitamins each day for six months. Others will get a placebo. Last year, a Chinese study suggested a B vitamin supplement may reduce the risk of stroke.

For the teacher study researchers will measure heart rate and blood pressure and monitor stress-linked homocysteine levels via blood work. Some volunteers will also have MRI scans to monitor brain function during cognitive tests. All will be assigned mood questionnaires as homework.

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