Folic acid is clearly essential for brain and nervous system health.
When animals are depressed, they have a delayed response to stressful situations. Researchers in this study reported that rats given folic acid who were then forced to swim (a standard test for depression in lab rats, believe it or not!) started swimming sooner than rats who did not receive the supplement.
Folic acid also seemed to promote a synergistic effect with fluoxetine (Prozac), meaning in the presence of folic acid, Prozac was more effective. What this finding has the potential to translate into...is that if you DO need an antidepressant, eating well (or at least taking a multivitamin at the same time)may reduce the dose of the medication you actually need, which in turn reduces the potential for side effects. And side effects are a major reason why people do not maintain compliance with their psychotropic medications.
This seems like it's too simple to be true. But the reality is, when you're depressed, you may not feel like making the effort to eat well. Or, you grab something quick and easy (and likely low in essential vitamins/minerals and high in the wrong kind of fats), which only worsens the depression. If you have time to do only one thing a day that is just for YOU...make it eating well.
Whether it's a Flintstones or a One A Day, consider a multi as an essential part of your mental health bag of tricks!
Brocardo PS, Budni J, Kaster MP, Santos AR, Rodrigues AL. Folic acid administration produces an antidepressant-like effect in mice: Evidence for the involvement of the serotonergic and noradrenergic systems. Neuropharmacology. 2008 Feb;54(2):464-73. Epub 2007 Nov 5.
The New ETLNTA
1 year ago