L-methylfolate is a medical food similar to a vitamin that is often used as an adjunctive treatment to antidepressant medications for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. L-methylfolate enhances the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Research shows that L-methylfolate supplementation is helpful for people with reduced ability to convert folic acid into L-methylfolate.
Reasons why folic acid conversion to L-methylfolate is reduced:
1. Genetic predisposition. For people who are able to obtain genetic testing, the specific deficiency is produced by the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR C677T) polymorphism. Research shows that up to 70% of depressed people lack the ability to convert folic acid into L-methylfolate and, therefore, lack the ability to produce enough serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine to alleviate depression.
2. Poor diet. An unhealthy diet can lead to problems with folic acid conversion. Research shows that L-methylfolate supplementation has been effective in depressed patients with a BMI of 30 or more.
3. Anticonvulsants. Some medications, like Lamictal, can interfere with absorption and inhibit the enzyme involved in L-methylfolate production.
Deplin is the brand name of L-methylfolate that has been FDA approved as a medicinal food for antidepressant augmentation. Ask your provider, or a staff member at Providers For Healthy Living, if you would be a good candidate for L-methylfolate supplementation.
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