Folic acid (folate)

Like vitamin B12, folate may have an indirect role in the production of serotonin. Vitamins B12 and folate are required for a process called methylation (the donation of methyl groups), which is needed for production of serotonin as well as many other neurotransmitters[85]. Deficiency in B12 or folate (and high homocysteine levels, related to poor methylation) are associated with mood disorders such as depression.[86,87]

Folate may have antioxidant activity.[93] Folate deficiency is associated with oxidative stress[92], perhaps due a build-up of homocysteine as a result of poor methylation. And several human studies have found that folate supplementation can reduce markers of oxidative stress in the body – although often using high doses.[94,95]



85. Türksoy N et al. Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine levels in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Sep 9;10:1671-5.

86. Tiemeier H et al. Vitamin b(12), folate, and homocysteine in depression: the Rotterdam study. American Journal of Psychiatry. 159(12):2099-2101, 2002.

87. Penninx, B. W., et al. Vitamin B(12) deficiency and depression in physically disabled older women: epidemiologic evidence from the Women’s Health and Aging Study. Am J Psychiatry. 157(5):715-721, 2000.

92. Martínez-Vega R et al. Folic acid deficiency induces premature hearing loss through mechanisms involving cochlear oxidative stress and impairment of homocysteine metabolism. FASEB J. 2015 Feb;29(2):418-32.

93. Stanger O, Wonisch W. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidative effects of folic acid and its reduced derivates. Subcell Biochem. 2012;56:131-61.

94. Cagnacci A et al. Folate administration decreases oxidative status and blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Apr;54(3):429-35.

95. Bahmani F et al. The effects of folate supplementation on inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Oct;81(4):582-7.




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