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This Simple Vitamin Helps Treat Depression

We all feel down from time to time. But many of us suffer from states of depression that go beyond feeling “the blues.” For these individuals, there is new information that could help them cope.

Vitamin B-9, also known as folate, is a vitamin our bodies need to form red blood cells, metabolize protein, and grow and divide cells. In addition to anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells), folate deficiency may lead to the development of major depressive disorder (MDD).

We find folate naturally in grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, as well as other foods. Typically, the synthetic version, folic acid, can be absorbed more efficiently than folate. But before it can be useful to the body it must be converted back to folate. And although folic acid is commonly added to many processed foods – cereals, energy bars, and bread, a person’s inability to adequately metabolize – or absorb – folate can result in a deficiency.

Additionally, certain diseases can lead to a folate deficiency. These diseases and conditions include gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease, liver disease, alcoholism (or excessive alcohol consumption), taking certain medications, being on kidney dialysis, and being pregnant. Excessive vomiting due to pregnancy or an eating disorder can also produce a deficiency.

Approximately six to seven percent of adults in a given year are affected by major depressive disorder. Of those affected nearly twice as many are women than men. Of those adults, roughly 50 to 70 percent of those patients prescribed antidepressants fail to find them work. For these patients, several clinical trials and case studies suggest that l-methylfolate can improve response to antidepressants.

L-Methylfolate has been proven to be the only form of folic acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier. It indirectly facilitates the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These are three neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation.

So, if persistent depression is something that is affecting your life, you may want to see your physician to see what your vitamin B-9 (or folate) levels are. It could be that you are in a state of depression because of a folate deficiency, and that can be rectified.

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