Does Folic Acid Help With Depression?
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is the building block of several neurotransmitters that are essential for the body. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are all thought to be low in people suffering from depression. Folic acid is not an active ingredient in these medications, as it is metabolized by the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme makes only the methylfolate form of the vitamin cross the blood brain barrier. You may have seen folic acid described as a good supplement for depression.
If you’re wondering can nootropics help with mood, the answer is yes! But the real question is whether or not folic acid is one such mood boosting nootropic.
In this article, we’re going to look at what folic acid does to the brain, how it interacts with the neurotransmitters controlling your mood, and whether or not taking folic acid supplements is good for fighting depression.
What is folic acid?
The answer is ‘yes’ – women of childbearing age should take folic acid supplements. Folic acid is a “pro-growth” vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of the fetus in the womb. Studies show that folic acid supplementation may lower the risk of neural tube defects by as much as 70 percent. Taking folic acid is as simple as drinking a glass of orange juice once a day.
While folic acid can be obtained from many sources, it is not recommended for all women. People with certain health conditions may need higher doses of the vitamin. Those with a family history of neural tube defects, sickle cell disease, or inflammatory bowel disease may require a higher dosage. Food sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, citrus juices, beans, nuts, and seeds. However, women who are pregnant or have any of the above conditions should consult their physician before beginning folic acid supplementation.
Currently, folic acid is available as a prescription drug or as an over-the-counter supplement. It is used to prevent neural tube defects and fortify foods and beverages. It may interact with other prescription medications. The medication belongs to a class of drugs called Vitamins, Water-Soluble. People taking Folic Acid should consult their doctor or pharmacist for any side effects that may occur while taking it. While the potential for side effects is low, it should still be checked carefully.
Does folic acid affect mood?
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a daily dose of folic acid can prevent new episodes of depression in adolescents and young adults. Participants were aged 14 to 24 years. To determine if folic acid may improve mood, participants were given either placebo or 20 mg/d of the nutrient. Although these results have not been confirmed, they suggest that folic acid may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression.
Folic acid is believed to regulate mood and cognition, and has been shown to increase the effect of antidepressants. It is a water-soluble B-Vitamin that is critical for DNA synthesis, gene expression, amino acid synthesis, and neurotransmitter synthesis. It is also a component of the neurotransmitter cycle, helping to produce serotonin and norepinephrine. It is important for the production of red blood cells, as well as in the regulation of mood.
A recent study found that high blood folate intake can speed up age-related mental decline in people with low levels of vitamin B12. However, further research is needed to determine if folic acid intake can increase the risk of dementia in older people. Furthermore, women do not get their required folate levels from food sources, so they are often encouraged to take folic acid supplements. However, too much folic acid intake during pregnancy may lead to insulin resistance and slow down the brain development of children.
How does folic acid affect depression?
There are mixed results when considering the use of folic acid to treat depression. One randomized controlled study of 127 patients who had failed to respond to SSRIs found that folic acid reduced the risk of depressive symptoms but did not completely eliminate it. A second study of 121 patients found no difference in the occurrence of depression among those who received folic acid or placebo treatment. The researchers believe that this is due to the fact that some people are not capable of converting folic acid into methylfolate.
Another study examined the effects of folic acid supplementation in pregnant women. Women with the MTHFR C677T genotype were significantly less likely to suffer from depression when supplementation was added to their diet. When taking the vitamin supplement for eight weeks after delivery, folic acid supplementation protected against depression at 21 months postpartum. This protective effect was strongest in women with the MTHFR C677T TT genotype, who produce lower levels of active L-methylfolate and may be more susceptible to depletion during pregnancy.
Can folic acid help with anxiety?
If you have a chronic case of anxiety, taking a vitamin supplement could be beneficial. Although you shouldn’t take them on a daily basis, they can help your body combat anxiety and boost your overall health. A simple blood test can help your doctor determine whether you’re deficient in vitamins or minerals, which may have a negative effect on your symptoms. In some cases, vitamin supplementation can even help prevent anxiety attacks.
While no scientific study has been conducted directly comparing the effect of B vitamins and folic acid on anxiety, it is clear that the vitamin plays a role in the body. B vitamins are important in the metabolism of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter important for mood regulation. Vitamin B12 supports nerve health, which is crucial for the brain’s normal functioning. It’s essential to get enough of the B vitamins in your diet, and vitamin B12 can help you combat the physical symptoms of anxiety, as well.
In addition to leafy green vegetables, folic acid is also found in eggs and legumes. For added benefit, fortified grain products are a good choice, although be aware that these are highly processed. Gluten may be a trigger for anxiety and depression, so limiting your intake of these products could make it easier to combat the condition. However, this shouldn’t be a permanent solution. Folic acid can help with anxiety, if taken in the proper amounts, and in combination with vitamin B12, a diet rich in folic acid will improve the symptoms.
Does folate calm you down?
Studies have shown that women who were depressed are more likely to take folic acid or vitamin supplements. However, the difference in folic acid intake wasn’t statistically significant when depressive status was controlled for. It’s also unclear if vitamin supplements can help treat depression. Women need folic acid to produce the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Folic acid supplements don’t help depression because the brain needs to convert folic acid into l-methylfolate to make these chemicals.
In addition to its antidepressant properties, folate has other benefits. It can help patients with depressive disorders tolerate other medications. The vitamin may also help people with depression due to a folate deficiency. It’s also beneficial for elderly people who have nutritional problems or recent alcoholism. And women who are of childbearing age may also benefit from supplementation. Folate may reduce residual symptoms of depression.
Is folic acid an antidepressant?
A clinical trial measuring the efficacy of folic acid in treating depression is underway. The main outcome will be changes in depressive symptoms from the clinical and participant perspective. The primary outcome measure is the self-rated Beck Depression Inventory, while secondary outcome measures include the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, health status, and mental aspects of quality of life. Other secondary outcomes include adverse events, such as psychiatric admission and mortality, as well as side effects. In the case of folic acid, 5 mg per day is more effective than 0.4 mg per day.
Folic acid has also been found to improve depression in animal models. In a recent study, folic acid significantly reduced depression-like behavior in rats. These effects may be due to increased expression of GluR1 and repairs to synaptic organization in the brain. This treatment is effective in preventing depressive symptoms, but has some limitations. Folic acid treatment must be carefully chosen for human use.
Is folic acid a mood stabilizer?
Taking folic acid supplements can improve your mood. Folic acid is an essential nutrient, building blocks of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. While it is not an active ingredient in many supplements, it has been shown to improve the effectiveness of certain antidepressants, such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
The amount of folic acid in the blood is not necessarily indicative of the concentrations in the central nervous system. Medications containing methylfolate are often prescribed in higher doses than 400 mcg. Folate deficiency was first linked with depression in the 1960s. It is a common condition affecting six to seven percent of adults each year, twice as many women than men.
A few studies have examined folic acid as an augmentation therapy for depression. One study used fluoxetine and folic acid as a combination. Those taking folate experienced a 40% reduction in Affective Morbidity Index (AMI) scores. In addition, folic acid also reduced Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores. A study on fluoxetine alone had no effect on depression, but folic acid significantly reduced it.
Taking folic acid with anti-depressants
The evidence supporting the benefits of folic acid for depression is mixed. While there are no controlled studies to prove that folic acid alone can treat depression, it may help anti-depressant treatments work better. In a meta-analysis of clinical trials, folic acid supplements were found to reduce the likelihood of relapse and improve mood for some people. Although only about 10% of the population is folate deficient, some people have gene defects that prevent them from converting folic acid into L-methylfolate.
One study found that fluoxetine and folic acid helped treat symptoms of depression in patients who had severe mood disorders. The study included 440 participants. Of these, 343 patients were complete. The researchers found that folic acid and fluoxetine had similar effects, and the results showed promising results. However, the results were mixed. Despite its promising potential, the study’s lack of placebo controls could lead to more harmful effects.