Studies: 3 Ways That Folate And Vitamin B12 May Influence Your Mood -

B vitamins have been recognized as essential for converting food and water into energy after consumption. There are a total of eight B vitamins, which work together to help metabolism and other processes in the body. Specifically, Vitamin B12 and folate are widely known for their associations. Additionally, it is extremely vital to maintain a proper ratio of the two because more or less of one may cause a deficiency in the other and can put you at a risk of nervous system problems. The importance of the association of these two B vitamins has been a topic of research in mood and mental health. Researchers have found evidence of folate and vitamin B12 influencing your mood*.

1. There are associations between vitamin B12 and folate intake and mood*

A variety of studies have found that there is a correlation between the intake of B vitamins and an incidence of depression or depressive symptoms*. A study conducted in Spain found an association between folate and Vitamin B12 intake and depression.[1]  The study assessed a total of 9760 people and evaluated them via food frequency questionnaire and a questionnaire for depression. The researchers found that high intakes of vitamin B12 were associated with a lower incidence of depression amongst both women and men. For folate, they found an inverse relationship between intake and depression but only in men. Another study conducted in Baltimore researching the associations of B vitamins and depression had some of the same findings.[2] The researchers studied 2524 adults between the ages of 20 and 85 and assessed them through a nutrition survey and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). They found an inverse relationship between folate status and depressive symptoms amongst women. Although both studies had slightly different findings, they both highlight the fact that these two B vitamins may be involved in influencing your mood. The results point to a need for more research to be conducted.

2. Vitamin B12 and folate status may be predictive of depression or depressive symptoms over time*

Studies have also revealed that there are associations between B vitamin status and the development of depressive symptoms or depression over time. A Chicago study evaluated 3503 adults aged 65 or older through a food frequency questionnaire and the CES-D scale for depression.[3] The researchers found that Vitamin B12 status was associated with a decreased incidence of depression. They found this association to be true up to 12 years of follow up. The finding allowed them to conclude that could be protective of depressive symptoms over time. A Korean study also studying the same associations made similar conclusions.[4] A total of 732 Koreans also aged 65 or older were evaluated. The study found that lower levels of folate and Vitamin B12 were related to a higher incidence of depression at the follow up period. The results suggest that folate and vitamin B12 status are predictive of mood*.

3. Adjunctive folate supplementation has been found to improve antidepressant action

A study in the UK found that supplementing depressive patients with folate enhanced antidepressant action.[5] The study examined 127 patients over 17 years old that were on Flouxetine. The experimental group was set to take 500 micrograms of folic acid daily and was evaluated for depression with the Hamilton rating scale. The effect of the supplementation was most notable in women, in whom treatment response was significantly improved. Women also saw a significant decrease in plasma homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid, whose high levels have been implicated in depression. The researchers concluded that folate supplementation is beneficial for the improvement of antidepressant action, and that men may require a higher dosage than women to have the same effect. Another study in Harvard found that folate supplementation had similar effects.[6] Specifically, the study sought to find the effects of 15 mg/day of L-methylfolate in 70 patients. Researchers found that the supplementation had an improved efficacy in comparison to patients taking placebo. The results suggest that folate has a role in affecting mood*.

You can obtain Vitamin B12 and Folate in your diet by consuming potatoes, spinach, broccoli, bananas, and oranges.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

[1] Association between folate, vitamin B(6) and vitamin B(12) intake and depression in the SUN cohort study. Et al., 2009 Apr;22(2):122-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2008.00931.x. Epub 2009 Jan 16.
[2] Serum folate, vitamin B-12, and homocysteine and their association with depressive symptoms among U.S. adults. Et al., 2010 Nov;72(9):862-73. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181f61863. Epub 2010 Sep 14.
[3] Longitudinal association of vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time. Et al., 2010 Aug;92(2):330-5. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29413. Epub 2010 Jun 2.
[4] Predictive value of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels in late-life depression. Et al., 2008 Apr;192(4):268-74. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.039511.
[5] Enhancement of the antidepressant action of fluoxetine by folic acid: a randomised, placebo controlled trial. Et al., 2000 Nov;60(2):121-30.
[6] Effect of adjunctive L-methylfolate 15 mg among inadequate responders to SSRIs in depressed patients who were stratified by biomarker levels and genotype: results from a randomized clinical trial. Et al., 2014 Aug;75(8):855-63. doi: 10.4088/JCP.13m08947.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.