Your article, “How to get the most out of your supplements,” (Feb. 7) prompted me to write. That article addresses nutritional supplements in relation to physical health; I am writing on the topic of supplements and mental health.
Your paper publishes a variety of columns about depression and suicide risk. Typically, the recommendation is a psychological evaluation followed by pharmaceutical interventions and counseling as the results indicate. Perhaps some have also mentioned the benefits of exercise (this latter has been established in the health and mental health fields since the 1990s at least).
What is consistently omitted is the impact of B vitamins on emotional stability. Labs now have the ability to test for a genetic mutation, MTHFR. This mutation inhibits our bodies from metabolizing folic acid, or Vitamin B9.
Sources such as Web MD, Psychology Today and the National Institutes of Health confirm there is a connection between low levels of folic acid and other B vitamins and depression.
Since those with MTHFR can’t metabolize folic acid, simply using the regularly manufactured folic acid supplements doesn’t work. And getting those Vitamin B injections that typically energize most folks may not do the trick, either. Yet a specific form of folic acid (that is readily available OTC) can be used and absorbed.
For those who regularly struggle with depression who feel they have tried everything and nothing seems to help much, I offer this as something to look into with your health and/or mental health care provider. Taking the proper dose of the necessary form of folic acid (assess this with your provider; it’s very individual) could make a huge difference, as it has for me.