Supplement Depression Meds With B Vitamins

Taking vitamin B12 and folate daily could help patients on depression medication reduce their risk of relapse.

AsianScientist (Oct. 30, 2014) – Supplementing current anti-depressant medication with B vitamins improves response to treatment, according to a study by researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Results published recently in the British Journal of Psychiatry show that using vitamin B12 and folate every day for at least a year can enhance the effectiveness of anti-depressant treatment and helps prevent relapse of major depression in middle-aged and older adults.

The trial involved 153 people over the age of 50 who were experiencing a major depressive episode.

Depression is common and anti-depressants are at the forefront in management of adults with depressive disorders. However, not all patients respond to standard treatment in the most favorable way. Several studies have confirmed that depression is associated with low concentrations of folate and vitamin B12.

Winthrop Professor Osvaldo Almeida, research director of UWA’s Centre for Health and Ageing, said the research had found that sustained B-vitamin use together with anti-depressant treatment for more than a year had significantly improved treatment outcomes in people with major depression.

“The risk of relapse was significantly reduced among participants who took the B-vitamins. Previous work had suggested that certain vitamins could have a role in preventing depression, but this is the first time that we have been able to demonstrate unequivocally that we can improve the treatment of depression by supplementing medication with B-vitamins.”

Prof. Almeida said that soon general practicioners could be recommending the use of B-vitamins as a safe and inexpensive strategy in the treatment of major depression in older adults, although he cautioned that the study needed to be replicated before such recommendation could be made.

“The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being,” he said. “They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them.”

The article can be found at: Almeida et al. (2014) B Vitamins to Enhance Treatment Response to Antidepressants in Middle-aged and Older Adults: Results from the B-VITAGE Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial.

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Source: University of Western Australia; Photo: zeevveez/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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