Richard G. Petty, MD

Depression, Folic Acid and Bread

A remarkable study was published in the July edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, by researchers at the University of York and Hull York Medical School.

They reviewed 11 studies involving 15,315 individuals and confirmed that there is a link between depression and low levels of folate, a vitamin that comes primarily from leaf vegetables such as spinachturnip greens, dried beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate, as is liver. and

Last month, the British Food Standards Agency recommended to Health Ministers that they should introduce mandatory fortification of either bread or flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects, which can result in miscarriage, neonatal death or lifelong disability. This new study suggests that the measure may also help to reduce the frequency and severity of depression.

Lead author Simon Gilbody said:

“Our study is unique in that for the first time all the relevant evidence in this controversial area has been brought together. Although the research does not prove that low folate causes depression, we can now be sure that the two are linked. Interestingly, there is also some trial evidence that suggests folic acid supplements can benefit people with depression. We recommend that large trials should be carried out to further test this suggestion.”

Recent research from the same team published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has also shown that people with depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia commonly have a genetic mutation named MTHFR C677T in the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene on chromosome 1. The enzyme that the gene codes for is involved in folate metabolism, and the mutation (polymorphism) means that they process folate less efficiently. Folate is linked to the production of some of the chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, that in some part some the brain elevate mood. The identification of this gene provides a plausible explanation as to why folic acid supplements may help people with depression.

There is also another implication of the finding: it is well known that some diseases are more common in people who have depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, including coronary artery disease ad some forms of cancer.

This same genetic polymorphism has been linked to cancers of the breast and lung, as well as coronary artery disease. It may be that folate is one of the factors involved in both.

Yet another research project!

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

logo logo logo logo logo logo