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Supplementation With Micronutrients Containing Folic Acid And Depression in Women

In a randomized, controlled study involving 459 Guatemalan women, results indicate that supplementation with micronutrients containing folic acid may be associated with a lower risk of developing depression. The women were randomized to 1 of 4 groups for 12 weeks: 1) received weekly 5,000 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 2) received weekly 2,800 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 3) received daily 400 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 4) received daily 200 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12. Depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression 20-item Scale. At baseline, the prevalence of depression was 49.3%. Results indicated that women in the lowest tertile of red blood cell folate (RBC) showed a 70% increased risk of depression, compared with women in the highest tertile of RBC folate. Additionally, prevalence of depression decreased in the folic acid co ntaining micronutrients-supplemented groups. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Supplementation with FA-containing micronutrients may be equally efficacious in improving symptoms of depression when provided daily or weekly. Our findings that poor folate status may increase depression needs to be further investigated
“Micronutrient supplementation may reduce symptoms of depression in Guatemalan women,” Nguyen PH, Martorell R, et al, Arch Latinoam Nutr, 2009; 59(3): 278-86
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