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Folate, Anxiety, and Depression – How Are They Connected?

Folate, Anxiety, and Depression – How Are They Connected?

Feeling anxious or depressed could be an episode. However, if it is repetitive, you might want to look for ways to achieve an anxiety relief.

Can folate be a way to feel better and more peaceful?

We consulted science, and here is what the evidence has to say about that!

What is Folate? - a Scientific Overview

Folate is another name for vitamin B9. You can find it in various foods, as well as in supplements. It is soluble in water.

Folate belongs to the group of B vitamins, and it participates in numerous reactions throughout the human organism.

Beef liver is an excellent food source of B9 and the rest of B vitamins. When it comes to folate, you can also eat boiled spinach and black-eyed peas. White rice, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and breakfast cereals are also smart choices for consuming folate.

Recommended Dosage Of Folate:

The recommended daily intake depends on the age of the person.

Adults need at least 400mcg of folate, and women that are pregnant or breastfeeding could use 600mcg.

Tolerable upper intake levels are higher than that. Here is their overview:

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Folate (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/)

The tolerable upper intake levels allow plenty of room to maximize the potential benefits of folate. These vary from helping to regulate blood pressure and assisting in promoting eye health to reducing the risk of slowing down the progression of kidney disease.

Many supplements contain a generous quantity of folate to ensure you get an adequate intake of this vitamin. That way, these solutions secure optimal effectiveness in helping with various health problems, including but not limited to feeling anxious.

How Can Folate Help with Anxiety and Depression Disorders?

Folate, Serotonin & Dopamine

A significant portion of the folate working process refers to boosting dopamine and serotonin synthesis.

These are both neurotransmitters that play an important role in avoiding depressive and anxious feelings. That indicates folate can participate in reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.

It has been the topic of numerous studies conducted over the years.

Many researchers proved that folic acid could boost brain receptors for serotonin.

Folate and Anti-Depressive Medications

You can also find scientific studies that discuss the positive effect of folic acid on anti-depressive medications. For example, a study whose results were published in 2000 confirmed that folic acid boosts the effectiveness of fluoxetine.

A total of 127 patients who consumed fluoxetine participated. A portion was given the placebo, and the rest received 500 micrograms of folic acid daily.

The results based on the Hamilton Rating Scale compared the baseline with results after ten weeks.

An improvement of plasma folate in the body led to a decrease in plasma homocysteine.

A more significant changed was noticed in females participating in the study. The study indicated that men might need a bigger dose of folic acid to achieve a better response.

Scientific Studies About Folate and Depression

Research Study 1 (Folate for Anxiety & Depression)


The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine discussed the correlation of nutrition with anxiety and depression in 2007.

The journal indicated that folate is among several nutrients that have a particular connection to depression-like symptoms.

That is why optimal nutrition and supplementation could lower the risk of exhibiting anxiety and depression.

Research Study 2 (Folate for Anxiety & Depression)


In 2017, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed whether a deficiency of folate or vitamin B2 could be a factor in developing anxiety and depression. The study was conducted in Denmark and included 4,1256 participants. The researchers measured levels of folate and vitamin B12 in these patients.

According to the results, small to medium effects on these substances being a risk for anxiety and depression couldn’t be ruled out.

Research Study 3 (Folate for Anxiety & Depression)


Another study analyzed the plasma folate level and its relation to anxiety and depression.

The results of the research showed that middle-aged women with low plasma levels could be at an increased risk of depression.

The study was a large-scale one because more than 5,940 subjects participated. The participants were 70 to 74 years old, and 46 to 49 years old.

Research Study 4 (Folate for Anxiety & Depression)


The College of Family Physicians of Canada doesn’t have a dilemma that women dealing with depression could benefit from folate supplementation.

They underline several studies where the positive effect of this vitamin on women fighting depression was noted.

The first research was a randomized trial conducted over a period of ten weeks. The reviewers indicate that 109 men and women participated in the study. The study used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) to measure depression-like symptoms.

The results showed that more than 60% of men exhibited a 50% reduction in HDRS. Women reacted much better and exhibited a 93.9% response rate, which indicates at least a 50% reduction in HDRS. Finally, 72.7% went in remission, which means their HDRS was lower than 9.

That indicates folate could be helpful for both sexes in reducing depression risks.

The same review focused on other helpful trials related to depression and folate. For example, a randomized trial that involved 53 participants dealing with unipolar depression proved that folate could reduce the Back Depression Inventory significantly. The effect was better than when using placebo treatment.

Are People Open to Consuming Folate and Vitamin Supplementation?

It is interesting to note that people are more inclined to using folate and overall vitamin supplementation after exhibiting anxiety or depression. Whether feeling anxious or depressed was a rare event, or they exhibited major depression symptoms, people turned to supplementation only after being diagnosed with these conditions. Men and women are both more likely to take vitamin supplements when they feel they need help in dealing with these problems.

Research Study 5 (Folate for Anxiety & Depression)


Another study that focused on folate supplementation discusses the trust that those suffering from depression have in consuming this vitamin. The research focused on antenatal depression and proved that social trust and education are related to openness toward taking folate supplementation.


That is why you could use a trustworthy supplement loaded with natural-based ingredients like folate.




  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18950248
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10967371?dopt=Abstract
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1559827607299725
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn201797
  6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/207557
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3173416/
  8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1475-2891-10-102
  9. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13651500903434479



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