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Folate may reduce the risk of depressive symptoms

February 15, 2012

Insufficient dietary folate intake may be causally related to depressive symptoms in younger women, a new Japanese study suggests.

In the observational study, depressive symptoms and folate intakes were investigated in 141 women aged 18 to 28 years (1). Folate intake was calculated based on a diet questionnaire and the measurement of blood folate and homocysteine concentrations. The study results showed that the proportion of women with lower folate intake (less than 240 micrograms per day) was significantly higher in the women with depressive symptoms. Folate intakes of more than the recommended dietary allowance ( RDA) level of 240 micrograms per day were independently related to a decreased risk of depression.

The researchers concluded that this finding suggests that dietary folate intake may be causally related to depressive symptoms in women of reproductive age. If studies focused on investigating these causal relationships also turned out to have similar results, folate supplementation could reduce the incidence of depression.

References

  1.  Watanabe H. et al. Impact of dietary folate intake on depressive symptoms in young women of reproductive age. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2012; 57(1):43–48.