Vitamin B 12 , Folate, and Homocysteine in Depression: The Rotterdam Study

Department of Psychiatry, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 12.3). 01/2003; 159(12):2099-101. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.12.2099
Source: PubMed


The associations of vitamin B(12), folate, and homocysteine with depression were examined in a population-based study.
The authors screened 3,884 elderly people for depressive symptoms. Subjects with positive screening results had psychiatric workups. Folate, vitamin B(12), and homocysteine blood levels were compared in 278 persons with depressive symptoms, including 112 with depressive disorders, and 416 randomly selected reference subjects. Adjustments were made for age, gender, cardiovascular disease, and functional disability.
Hyperhomocysteinemia, vitamin B(12) deficiency, and to a lesser extent, folate deficiency were all related to depressive disorders. For folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia, the association with depressive disorders was substantially reduced after adjustment for functional disability and cardiovascular disease, but for vitamin B(12) this appeared independent.
The association of vitamin B(12) and folate with depressive disorders may have different underlying mechanisms. Vitamin B(12) may be causally related to depression, whereas the relation with folate is due to physical comorbidity.

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Available from: Henning Tiemeier
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    • "Fish contains a variety of micronutrients, not just n-3 PUFAs, as well as vitamin D, folate, and vitamin B12. All these nutrients—n-3 PUFAs [22], vitamin D [18], folate [11], and vitamin B12 [38]—are also known to be lower in the peripheral tissues of depressive individuals compared with controls. However, recent meta-analyses of randomized placebo-controlled trials using these supplements revealed a beneficial effect with n-3 PUFAs only [13]—not vitamin D [12], folate [2], or vitamin B12 [2]. "
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    • "It was shown in several large studies that elevated plasma or serum homocysteine concentrations and folate and vitamin B 12 deficiency are all significantly associated with depressive disorders (Tiemeier et al. 2002; Gu et al. 2012) or with increased risk of depression (Tolmunen et al. 2004; Refsum et al. 2006; Gilbody et al. 2007; Almeida et al. 2008). Approximately one third of patients with a depression diagnosis showed low concentrations of folate and elevated concentrations of homocysteine in serum or erythrocytes (Carney et al. 1990; Bottiglieri et al. 2000). "
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