YOUR HEALTH: Folic acid impacts suicide risk

Twelve-point-two million Americans suffered from suicidal thoughts in recent years.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 4:58 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2023 at 6:37 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Twelve-point-two million Americans suffered from suicidal thoughts in recent years. One-point-two million of those individuals attempted suicide and rates have risen 30 percent since the year 2000. However, recent research found that prescription folic acid reduced suicide thoughts by 44 percent 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 percent 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.” (:10)

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 sleep disorders, smoking, and other harmful behaviors were all also contributing factors for 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.

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