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If your mental wellness is affected by depression, your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants to help you cope. However, you may have to go through a variety of medications before you find the one that improves your wellbeing, and, even when you find one, the benefits may decrease over time. This is why more and more doctors are prescribing a form of folate for depressed patients.
Folate, which occurs naturally in foods such as leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts, is a water-soluble B vitamin, whilst its synthetic form is known as folic acid. Studies have shown that, if you have low levels of folate, you are six times more likely to respond poorly to antidepressants than those with normal levels. This is because folate is necessary for cell growth and brain function. Your body converts it into an active form, known as L-methylfolate, which you need to produce serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters which are essential for mood regulation.
Your L-methylfolate levels can reduce with ageing, genetics, illness, poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, and some medications. Antidepressants often work by making serotonin or norepinephrine available to your brain for longer, but this whole process may be less effective or ineffective if your brain is not producing enough of the neurotransmitters in the first place. So, you need to increase your folate intake.
Aside from the previously mentioned dietary sources of folate, you can boost your neurotransmitter production with cereals, baked goods, okra, asparagus, fruits such as bananas, melons, and lemons, yeast, mushrooms, organ meat such as liver and kidney, orange juice, and tomato juice. Another cost-effective way to up your endorphin activity is with exercise.
However, if you need an extra folate boost, Deplin is a prescription version of the B vitamin which has been on the market since 2006. Recently, it has been found that Deplin is beneficial to individuals who do not improve after being placed on an antidepressant. One study gave 75 patients either a placebo or 15 milligrams of Deplin along with an antidepressant and, after 30 days, 32% of subjects on Deplin had responded, compared with 15% on the placebo. Consult your doctor for more information.