Adding folic acid to bread could help in the fight against depression

Jun 26, 2007

A unique study by researchers at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has confirmed a link between depression and low levels of folate, a vitamin which comes from vegetables.

In research published in the July edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the York team led by Dr Simon Gilbody, concluded that there was a link between depression and low folate levels, following a review of 11 previous studies involving 15,315 participants.

Last month, the Food Standards Agency recommended to UK Health Ministers the introduction of 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. The York study suggests that the measure may also help in the fight against depression.

Dr 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 proved that people with depression commonly have a gene that means that they process folate less efficiently. Folate is linked to the production of some of the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. The identification of this gene provides a plausible explanation as to why folic acid supplements may help people with depression.

Source: University of York

Explore further: Instant noodles carry health risks for women: study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

HP sales inch up while profit drops

8 hours ago

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday reported that its quarterly revenue was nudged up by improved computer sales, but its profit dropped as the veteran technology firm tried to renew its momentum.

Recommended for you

With kids in school, parents can work out

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Back-to-school time provides an opportunity for parents to develop an exercise plan that fits into the family schedules, an expert suggests.

Obama offers new accommodations on birth control

10 hours ago

The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

11 hours ago

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University ...

User comments : 0