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04 September, 2013

Folic Acid: Boost for your Brain?

Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is one of the 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins assists’ the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which produces energy. Often referred to as B complex vitamins, these B vitamins aid the body in using fats and protein. They can help the nervous system function properly. Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, found in supplements and fortified foods, while folate occurs naturally in foods. Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.

 

~ Taken from University of Maryland Medical Centre

 

Mental Benefits of Folic Acid

  • Folate, which is required to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells, is quite lively in the brain and central nervous system. It affects the production of certain necessary compounds and neurotransmitters-substances that carry messages to different parts of the brain. For example, folate deficiency leads to lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in the brain. Research has suggested that supplementation with SAM may play a positive role in the treatment of depression. Consequently, one possible theory is that low folate levels may lead to low SAM, which increase symptoms of depression. By improving folate prominence, SAM increases, and depressive symptoms decline.
  • Several studies have established depressed patients to be deficient in folate, while others have shown no statistically significant variations in folate levels between people with and without depression. Numerous depressed people have a tendency to eat poor diets, which can lead to deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals, not just folate.
  • A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that sufficient amounts of folate are required for the brain to work well. Deficiencies may cause a higher risk for depression and deteriorate the response to antidepressant medication.

If you are deficient, a professional may recommend taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as well as increasing your intake of foods rich in this vitamin, such as, green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, turnip greens), Legumes (black beans, lentils, peas), citrus fruits and juices, and fortified cereals and grain products (including rice, pasta, bread, and certain breakfast cereals).