Active folate can benefit mental health, study says

In the Framingham Heart study, homocysteine levels were correlated with age and correlated inversely with folate and vitamins B6 and B12 levels

Research recently published in the South African General Practitioner (SAGP) has investigated the role of homocysteine levels in the development of depression and suggested folate supplementation may lead to beneficial outcomes for individuals suffering from emotional dysfunction.

SAGP is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes the contributions of local key opinion leaders and researchers. 

In a short flyover, the KOL Dr Paulo de Valdoleiros considers the role of elevated homocysteine levels in the pathogenesis of depression before reviewing a strategy to lower elevated homocysteine levels and benefit from improved molecular functioning, and subsequently improved mental health.

Dr Valdoleiros is a medical doctor whose work focuses on addressing the causes of physical and emotional dysfunctions, preventing the development of disease and, wherever possible, reversing the course of the disease by regaining or improving function.

The article notes homocysteine pathways have received considerable attention in recent decades for their association with psychiatric disorders. Dysfunctional clearance of homocysteine leads to hyperhomocysteinemia, which is both a marker for pathogenic processes as well as a cause of pathology the role of elevated homocysteine levels in the pathogenesis of depression.

In the Framingham Heart study, homocysteine levels were correlated with age and correlated inversely with folate and vitamins B6 and B12 levels. Supplementation with folate, B6, and B12 normalised homocysteine levels, in spite of mixed clinical outcomes. The author suggested the main reasons for poor clinical outcomes upon supplementation were: the presence of genetic polymorphisms (estimated at about 50% of the population, the intake of prescription drugs that either affect the methylation cycle directly or cause the increased consumption of the vitamins by diverse mechanisms and, most importantly, the supplementing of poorly bioavailable forms of the vitamins.

Activated forms of vitamins not only possess greater bioavailability but spare the body’s energy consumption in having to transform a form of the vitamin to the required chemical structure.  For the vitamin B9-folate, the author of the study suggests the use of Quatrefolic, developed by Gnosis by Lesaffre. Unlike folic acid, which cannot cross the blood-brain barrier unless it’s converted to methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), Quatrefolic is already 5-MTHF, the biologically active form that is required for its activity in the methylation cycle. 

Silvia Pisoni, Marketing Manager of Gnosis by Lesaffre, a said: “The genetic polymorphism of MTHFR is associated with decreased enzyme activity, and with less availability of active folate 5-MTHF. We are happy that people are becoming aware of the importance of active folate and talking about our Quatrefolic.”

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