Health Headlines: Folic acid may reduce suicidal thoughts

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Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:29 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Almost 12.2 million Americans suffered from suicidal thoughts in recent years and 1.2 million of those individuals attempted suicide. And those rates have risen 30% since the year 2000. However, recent research found that prescription folic acid reduced suicide thoughts by 44% in patients.

Research from the University of Chicago examined folic acid treatment from over 800 thousand Americans and their suicidal behavior over a two-year period.

Douglas Ruderfer, PhD, Associate Professor in Genetic Medicine, Biomedical informatics in Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says, “What we found is that there actually is independent genetic risk, that is contributing directly to suicide attempt, that is not simply through the risk of psychiatric disorders.”

Patients who took folic acid encountered a 44% reduction in suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors.

Ruderfer explains, “That is independent of psychiatric conditions which often present with suicide attempt but is biologically correlated with other non-psychiatric risk factors.”

While many individuals who consider suicide have underlying psychiatric illnesses, there are also genetic risks for suicide attempts, and that genetic risk can lead directly to a suicide attempt without existing psychiatric illness. Experts reported that sleep disorders, smoking, and other harmful behaviors were also contributing factors to suicide.

Experts say folic acid is an affordable supplement that is accessible without prescription. The vitamin folate B can also be consumed by eating foods with fortafolite acid such as nuts, peas, and fruit juices.

Contributors to this news report include Ally Stratis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.