An article on research into whether taking folic acid supplements (sometimes called folate or vitamin B9) might be related to lower rates of suicidal behavior appeared in the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation eNews on October 13, 2022. The team conducting this investigation was led by Robert D. Gibbons, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, and J. John Mann, M.D., of Columbia University and member of BBRF’s Scientific Council. The results were previously published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Employing a massive database, the team identified 866,00 individuals who were prescribed folic acid some months and not others. The usual dosage was 1mg/day, which is typical and considered the upper tolerable limit. Reviewing the data for a 5-year period, they found a 44% lower rate of suicidal events (suicide attempts or intentional self-harm) when patients were taking folic acid vs. when the same individuals were not taking it.
The researchers recommend a randomized controlled trial be conducted to confirm these results. “If confirmed, folic acid may be a safe, inexpensive, and widely available treatment for suicidal ideation and behavior.”