Depression linked to folate deficiency

Boston: The vitamin, folic acid, which is important in preventing birth defects, may help treat depression.

New research by Tufts University in the US has revealed that those with depression have low levels of the vitamin which is found in spinach, cabbage and strawberries.

In the UK, the National Health Service is to carry out a trial in which 700 people with moderate to severe depression will be given daily folate supplements.

Another recent report from St George’s Hospital in London, has already found that by adding the vitamin to antidepressant medication, treatment may boost the overall effect of other treatment.

Other studies suggest that folate deficiency may occur in up to one-third of patients with severe depression.

According to research at Tufts men and women who have experienced major depression have lower concentrations of the vitamin in their blood than those who had never been depressed.

The Tufts research, based on 3,000 people, suggests supplementation helps by reducing fatigue and improving energy levels.