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Folic acid can enhance the effect of antidepressants

Research suggests that L-methylfolate (LMF), a form of vitamin B9, may be an effective adjunctive treatment for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who do not respond adequately to antidepressants.

The investigators reviewed six studies and found evidence in favor of the adjunctive use of LMF in patients with MDD who did not respond to antidepressant monotherapy. Treatment response was higher in those with obesity and inflammatory biomarkers.

"If clinicians try LMF in their patients with treatment-resistant depression, the treatment is very effective in patients with high body mass index (BMI) or inflammatory biomarkers, and it's worth trying even in patients who don't have these indicators, as that it is safe and well tolerated, with no adverse effects," study investigator Vladimir Maletic, MD, MS, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, told Medscape. Medical News.

Folate is available in several forms, including LMF, which differs from dietary folate and synthetic folic acid supplements because it is a reduced metabolite that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

"This is a 'direct pathway' that goes directly to the brain, especially in those with high BMI or inflammatory markers, allowing their antidepressant to work better," Maletic said.

LMF is available as a prescription medical food and is approved for clinical dietary management of patients with MDD.

The authors wanted to understand the potential role of LMF in the treatment of patients with MDD who do not respond adequately to current antidepressant therapy.

This is an abstract of the article "B-Vitamin May Help Boost Antidepressant Efficacy" by Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW for Medscape

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