Folic acid for anxiety

MY anxiety is a wild beast. It has destroyed relationships, clawed at my insides until I was sick, left me cowering under blankets, plagued me with panic attacks and tipped me into post-natal depression following the birth of my first son. I would dream of it, obsess about it; when I closed my eyes at night I would see it appearing suddenly and unexpectedly outside my house, engulfing my baby brother or unsuspecting parents. I could not be convinced that I was safe.

In primary school I was obsessed with leprosy. As ridiculous as it now sounds, I would lie awake, night after night after night, wondering if tomorrow would be my last day on earth as I disintegrated due to rapid-onset rotting. As a teen, a phobia of vomiting — something that is far, far more common than you might think — meant I was too scared to eat around other people in case I threw it all back up in front of them. And as a young adult, it manifested as panic attacks. I was convinced my body could not tolerate heat and even seeing someone sweating on television could tip me into a full-blown panic attack.

Some things have helped for a while, others not at all, and always anxiety was there in some way — the eternal feeling that something catastrophic was about to happen. I have taken medication — Aropax, Cipramil, Effexor, Zoloft, to name but a few — tried cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnosis, exposure therapy, visited psychologists and psychiatrists and naturopaths and herbalists and more.

And for the past year my anxiety has edged ever closer to depression, as I berated myself for not being good enough to beat what so many seem to view as a personal failing, something I should be able to control if I just tried hard enough. Yet today my beast, finally, is a paper tiger, a tiny shadow in the corner of my heart. While for years, decades, I was looking outside for the answer, it turns out that I should have been looking inside all along.

Looking at my genes. The result is that my body has trouble processing B-group vitamins. The genetic mutation also affects close to one in five people and could be responsible for everything from mood disorder and multiple miscarriages to strokes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other illnesses. And the good news is that the potential treatment — folinic acid — is cheap, relatively easy to find, and side effect-free.

The distinction between folinic acid and the common dietary vitamin, B9 or folic acid, is an important one. Variations in the MTHFR gene mean I am unable to convert folic acid into a form my body can use — folinic acid — easily. My Adelaide-based doctor Andrew Owen has a comforting medical mix of compassion and curiosity and has been listening to me bang on about my anxiety for more than 10 years.

I first saw him after 12 months of virtually constant panic attacks had stripped 10kg from my frame, caused relentless insomnia and had driven me home from a life overseas, having left a relationship in ruins and on the edge of a nervous breakdown. He helped me tone down my more manic side with drugs and psych referrals but anxiety had never entirely left me, ready to rear its ugly head in times of stress or when the kids get sick and I suddenly think that weird rash is smallpox modern eradication be damnedor in the small hours of the night when the tiniest thing can seem like the gravest catastrophe.

Aware of research in the area for the past six or so years and the benefits that had been observed from taking folinic acid, Dr Owen conducted his own research before deciding to see if it could help others.

The doctor has seen improvements in people with fibromyalgia, migraine, and hypertension; kids with ADHD and autism. The link between MTHFR mutations, mood disorders and neurodevelopmental problems is not new information to scientists, even though adoption of testing by the broader medical community appears to be a rarity. Studies have shown that homocysteine levels can predict the length someone might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, that B vitamins have been observed to relieve premenstrual anxiety, and that MTHFR variations are associated with major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

A recent study in Arkansas, published in Molecular Psychiatryfound that a group of children with autism who were treated with folinic acid showed significant improvements in verbal communication, receptive and expressive language, attention and stereotypical behaviour. About one-third of treated children demonstrated moderate to much improvement. Trying to find a comprehensive study that looks at the possible link between MTHFR variations and anxiety is tricky, even though its link to other mood disorders is extensively researched.

That my anxiety has a genetic link is, on reflection, no great surprise to me. My mum, who has had her own battles with a kind of social phobia, remembers her own health being constantly checked by her mother. I have recognised this same behaviour in my treatment of my sons.

A temperature can be enough to send me off into wild paroxysms of hysteria, imagining every possible catastrophic outcome befalling my bewildered, if snotty, child. Dietitian and nutritionist Melissa Adamski is the owner of Nutted Out Nutrition and a nationally recognised expert in the emerging field of nutritional genomics. Broadly, nutrigenetics looks at how human genetic variation results in distinct nutritional requirements, and how diet and nutrition modulate the expression of genes.

Adamski believes a reluctance on the part of many GPs to invest more time in nutrigenetic testing is because there are no best-practice guidelines.We review the findings in major depression of a low plasma and particularly red cell folate, but also of low vitamin B12 status.

Both low folate and low vitamin B12 status have been found in studies of depressive patients, and an association between depression and low levels of the two vitamins is found in studies of the general population.

Low plasma or serum folate has also been found in patients with recurrent mood disorders treated by lithium.

folic acid for anxiety

A link between depression and low folate has similarly been found in patients with alcoholism. It is interesting to note that Hong Kong and Taiwan populations with traditional Chinese diets rich in folateincluding patients with major depression, have high serum folate concentrations. However, these countries have very low life time rates of major depression. Low folate levels are furthermore linked to a poor response to antidepressants, and treatment with folic acid is shown to improve response to antidepressants.

A recent study also suggests that high vitamin B12 status may be associated with better treatment outcome.

Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12

Folate and vitamin B12 are major determinants of one-carbon metabolism, in which S-adenosylmethionine SAM is formed. SAM donates methyl groups that are crucial for neurological function. Increased plasma homocysteine is a functional marker of both folate and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Increased homocysteine levels are found in depressive patients. In a large population study from Norway increased plasma homocysteine was associated with increased risk of depression but not anxiety.

Furthermore, the MTHFR CT polymorphism that impairs the homocysteine metabolism is shown to be overrepresented among depressive patients, which strengthens the association. On the basis of current data, we suggest that oral doses of both folic acid microg daily and vitamin B12 1 mg daily should be tried to improve treatment outcome in depression. Abstract We review the findings in major depression of a low plasma and particularly red cell folate, but also of low vitamin B12 status.

Publication types Review.If you have experienced anxiety, anxiety attacks or even panic attacks. You know only too well that it can be a terrible feeling, even debilitating. Anxiety is now a very big problem for people all over the world. Yet very few people are yet to discover that. Reductase to down regulate, this causes an inability for the body to use folate from your diet. When this happens many nutritional pathways in the body become disabled or reduced.

This causes mthfr symptoms and or conditions associated to mthfr. The two main gene mutations that cause anxiety include the CT and the AC genes. Each of the gene mutations has their own way of causing you anxiety. Often people with more severe cases have both of these mutations at the same time. Which convert folate from your diet into activated folate. This means that while you have this gene mutation you can end up with folate or folic acid deficiency.

But Some of the main symptoms of a folate deficiency include anxiety, depression, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating and poor memory. When folate levels become depleted because of the gene regulation problem.

This also causes a chain reaction of other nutritional problems. Specifically the other B complex group of vitamins and their relationship to minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Vitamin B1 — When this vitamin becomes deficient lactic acid builds up in your body.

Vitamin B2 — When this vitamin becomes deficient it causes a reduction in a coenzyme that makes vitamin B6 work properly as an antidepressant.

Folate for Depression (Harvard Mental Health Letter)

So vitamin B3 cannot be made properly from the amino acid tryptophan which leads to depression. B12 Vitamin — When this vitamin becomes deficient it causes irritability, anxiety or tension, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.

Taking folate or folic acid and B vitamin supplements also becomes ineffective due to the lack of mthfr enzyme needed to make that conversion. MTHFR gene mutation affects almost every area of your body, that means it can affect your organs, your brain and nervous system, this is why it can easily cause anxiety. Often people have experienced anxiety for many years of their lives and it can be difficult for them to imagine life without anxiety.

Some of the more common genes that cause anxiety include:. Contact us here.MY anxiety is a wild beast. It has destroyed relationships, clawed at my insides until I was sick, left me cowering under blankets, plagued me with panic attacks and tipped me into post-natal depression following the birth of my first son.

I was nervous from the beginning. I would dream of it, obsess about it, when I closed my eyes at night I would see it appearing suddenly and unexpectedly outside my house, engulfing my baby brother or unsuspecting parents. I could not be convinced that I was safe. In primary school I was obsessed with leprosy. As ridiculous as it now sounds I would lie awake, night after night after night, wondering if tomorrow would be my last day on Earth as I disintegrated due to rapid-onset rotting. As a teen a phobia of vomiting — something that is far, far more common than you might think — meant I was too scared to eat around other people in case I threw it all back up in front of them.

And as a young adult it manifested as panic attacks. I was convinced my body could not tolerate heat and even seeing someone sweating on television could tip me into a full-blown panic attack. For more than a decade, I have sought a cure. Some things have helped for a while, others not at all, and always anxiety was there in some way.

The eternal feeling something catastrophic was about to happen. I have taken medication — Aropax, Cipramil, Effexor, Zoloft to name but a few — tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, hypnosis, exposure therapy, visited psychologists and psychiatrists and naturopaths and herbalists and more.

folic acid for anxiety

And, for the last year, my anxiety has edged ever closer to depression, as I berated myself for not being good enough to beat what so many seem to view as a personal failing, something I should be able to control if I just tried hard enough. Yet today my beast, finally, is a paper tiger, a tiny shadow in the corner of my heart. It was a vitamin. For years, decades, I was looking outside for the answer, when I should have been looking inside all along.

Looking at my genes. The result is that my body has trouble processing B-group vitamins. The genetic mutation also affects close to one in five people and could be responsible for everything from mood disorder or multiple miscarriages to strokes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other illnesses.

And the good news is that the potential treatment — folinic acid — is cheap, relatively easy to find and side-effect free. Variations in the MTHFR gene mean I am unable to convert folic acid into a form my body can use — folinic acid — easily. I first saw him after 12 months of virtually constant panic attacks had stripped 10kg from my frame, caused relentless insomnia and had driven me home from a life overseas, having left a relationship in ruins and on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

He helped me tone down my more manic side with drugs and psych referrals but anxiety had never entirely left me, ready to rear its ugly head in times of stress or when the kids get sick and I suddenly think that weird rash is smallpox modern eradication be damned or in the small hours of the night when the tiniest thing can seem like the gravest catastrophe.

Aware of research in the area for the last six or so years and the benefits that had been observed from taking folinic acid, Owen conducted his own specific research before deciding to see if it could help others.

The doctor has seen improvements in people with fibromyalgia, migraine and hypertension; kids with ADHD and autism. And then there is me. There seems to be a link between personality and genetics. The link between MTHFR mutations, mood disorders and neurodevelopmental problems is not new information to scientists, even though adoption of testing by the broader medical community appears to be a rarity.Natural health remedies are a popular choice for those that are looking to improve upon their mental health issues without medicine.

Few people want to deal with the time and effort of therapy, and fewer still want to use the medicinal treatments that are not only prescribed extremely fast in today's medicine-oriented community - they also have a lot of side effects. Many believe that vitamins and nutrition are the key to improving anxiety. That's because deficiencies in important vitamins appear to precipitate anxiety symptoms, so it is possible that improving our intake of these vitamins should have the opposite effect and decrease the amount of anxiety we experience.

There's some good news and bad news. The good news is that if you are deficient in any vitamin, such as B-Vitamins, it's likely that adding these nutrients to your diet in terms of supplements or in food can potentially decrease your anxiety symptoms. The bad news is that B-Vitamins only work for a select group of people, depending on their nutritional intake. Natural health enthusiasts have been promoting the idea of vitamins alone as a treatment for anxiety in years.

Sometimes there is a benefit. There is some early evidence that magnesium supplements may help with anxiety, for example. There is also some belief that a proper diet is may be useful for coping with stress. But taking vitamin supplements may not work for everyone, and simply adding vitamins to your diet may not have much of an effect.

The reason that most vitamins have little effect on your anxiety is simple: when your body doesn't need the vitamin, it usually removes them. This is true of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and several minerals. Your digestive system is unlikely to keep nutrients it doesn't need. Instead, it turns them into waste, and you expel them every time you go to the bathroom. Some vitamins and minerals, like calcium, do build up in the body. But usually, this is considered a bad thing - not a good thing.

Too much Vitamin A, for example, can become toxic. That is why some experts believe it may actually be harmful to frequently consume vitamins that you do not need. If you are going to add vitamins to your diet, you first need to be selective - talk to your doctor, and try to understand what your dietary needs may be. That is the case with B-Vitamins - a common vitamin that is often recommended on several blogs and natural health websites for those with anxiety.

In order to find out which vitamins may have an effect on anxiety, you need to explore the research for what's known as the "anxiolytic" effect, which translates to "anti-anxiety" effect. An anxiolytic vitamin is going to be a vitamin that appears to have anti-anxiety properties when given in higher doses to those that do not already have a deficiency in the vitamin. B-Vitamins are one of the most commonly linked vitamins to reducing anxiety. Rather than listening to what people say online, the best thing to do is go to the research and see what studies have to say about the anxiolytic properties of B-Vitamins.

For a study to be considered viable for this exercise, it is going to have to show the following:. So let's look at the following B-Vitamins and see if the research argues that a larger dose could show anxiolytic effects. The following are all of the vitamins that are still considered vitamins some, like B4, are no longer considered vitamins in the Vitamin B complex. Thiamine affects nerve function, and plays a role in the creation of energy and DNA.

A study in Vietnam did appear to link Thiamine intake to an improvement in anxiety levels for those with generalized anxiety disorder.

However, when looking at the study further, it appears that it only involved 9 people, all nine were low in thiamine, they were all over the age of 50, and there was no control group. That means the study is not credible. There do not appear to be any other studies that link thiamine to a reduction in anxiety or stress, with the exception of those that are thiamine deficient.

Yet not enough research has been completed. Riboflavin is linked to energy production and oxidation of fatty acids. Instead, it reduces oxidative stress, which is unrelated. It's unclear if there is any benefit to an improved immune system on anxiety.It's common knowledge that large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants have the potential to promote a state of unease characterized by nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, etc. My time working in medical pharmacology has led me to the conclusion that certain vitamins you'll find in vitamin B complex i.

This is due to the fact that many popular vitamin supplements affect the same metabolic pathways that stimulants like caffeine do.

Foods With Folic Acid That May Help Your Anxiety

Here are a few that could potentially cause unpleasant side effects like anxiety. The first of the supplements that could cause anxiety is vitamin B6. This vitamin is used in most energy supplements because it can increase the production and release of various energizing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

The problem here comes if a formula is unbalanced and provides high amounts of B6 relative to the other B-vitamins.

Too much vitamin B-6 can increase the possibility of side effects such as restlessness, irritability, and numbness. Most people associate B12 with health, energy, and vitality, so it's another vitamin found in high concentrations in many energy formulas.

This can be beneficial for people experiencing mood disorders like depression, though it can sometimes result in an "overshoot" and cause restlessness, anxiety, worry, and difficulty sleeping. For most people, this isn't a supplement you need to take every day unless you have a diagnosed deficiency or are using it therapeutically for chronic fatigue or another condition.

If you do take vitamin B12, look for the form methylcobalamin, which is easier to absorb than the more common and less expensive form, cyanocobalamin. Like B6 and B12, folic acid promotes neurotransmitter production and release, and in high amounts greater than mcg per day it can be activating to the body and brain. Instead, try to get your folate from natural sources such as green leafy vegetables and fruits. At the end of the day, all vitamins are metabolic activators so it's always best to start out with a low dose to see how your body responds.

B Vitamins that ACTUALLY Work for Anxiety

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folic acid for anxiety

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Explore Classes. Neuropharmacologist By Timothy Marshall, M. Timothy M. Marshall, M. Medical review by Wendie Trubow, M. Functional Medicine Gynecologist. Wendie Trubow is a functional medicine gynecologist with almost 10 years of training in the field. She received her M.Medically reviewed by Drugs. Last updated on Feb 29, Applies to folic acid : capsule, solution, tablet. Along with its needed effects, folic acid may cause some unwanted effects.

Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking folic acid:.

Folic Acid In Depression And Anxiety

For Healthcare Professionals Applies to folic acid: compounding powder, injectable solution, oral tablet. Rare less than 0. Nausea, abdominal distension, and flatulence were reported in patients taking 15 mg folic acid daily for 1 month. Frequency not reported : Bitter or bad taste, altered sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, overactivity, impaired judgement, increased incidence of seizures in some epileptic patients [ Ref ].

Bitter or bad taste, altered sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, overactivity, and impaired judgement were reported in patients taking 15 mg folic acid daily for 1 month. Increased seizure incidence was seen in some epileptic patients receiving phenobarbitalprimidoneor diphenylhydantoin. Frequency not reported : Decreased vitamin B12 serum levels, worsening symptoms of B12 deficiency [ Ref ].

Decreased vitamin B12 serum levels was reported with prolonged folic acid therapy. Decreased diphenylhydantoin serum levels were reported in patients taking 5 or 15 mg folic acid daily. Frequency not reported : Decreased diphenylhydantoin serum levels [ Ref ]. Irritability, excitement, mental depressionand confusion were reported in patients taking 15 mg folic acid daily for 1 month. Frequency not reported : Irritability, excitement, mental depression, confusion [ Ref ].

Folic Acid folic acid. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA. Other brands: FA-8Folacin The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.

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Skip to Content. Folic acid Side Effects Medically reviewed by Drugs. References 1. Cerner Multum, Inc.


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