Vitamin B12: A potential form of depression therapy

Depression is an illness occurring ever more frequently. This can occur at any age and affect both men and women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the main reason for inability to work worldwide – a trend on the rise. Depression goes hand in hand with mood swings, loss of interest, sleep disorders, feelings of guilt, lack of concentration, poor self image as well as fluctuations in appetite and weigh. These symptoms can become chronic during a state of depression. In contrast to acute illnesses, chronic diseases do not have any clearly definable origin, but instead develop slowly and insidiously over a longer period of time. In the worst case, depression can lead to suicide. Every year around 850,000 incidents of death are associated with depression[1].

Depression is a disorder that can be affected by diverse factors. Thus links with medical diseases (for example heart problems such as heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes or cancer) are frequently ascertained.

Standard therapies for depression envisage treatment with antidepressants. However, more than 40% of patients suffering from depression do not exhibit any satisfactory success after therapy with drugs. What is more, antidepressants have a wide range of side effects. These include reduced blood pressure, weight gain, digestive disorders and sexual dysfunctions [2].

Owing to the difficult therapy and continually increasing number of new incidences, it is necessary to examine prophylactic measures (prevention) and alternative therapeutic approaches.

Various micro-nutrients such as vitamin D, folic acid or omega-3 fatty acids have long been discussed in the context of depression. Folic acid typically ensures improved brain and nerve functions. The possible link between depression and folic acid then brought attention to a connection with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in folic acid metabolism, as it affects the conversion of a substance (homocysteine) into methionine. Methionine is, in turn, required for folic acid metabolism. Like folic acid, vitamin B12 also shows an affect on brain function. Furthermore, a greater vitamin B12 deficiency was demonstrated in patients suffering from depression. A low vitamin B12 level can typically be caused by various medicines such as anti-inflammatory drugs [1]. Therapeutic trials with vitamin B12 revealed a reduced risk of developing depression by up to 50% in various studies. This was determined among patients who had suffered a stroke, over a time period of seven years [3].

In summary, it can be stated that depression is becoming ever more significant in modern society. It is triggered by diverse factors and mechanisms. As a result of this, treatment should pay attention to the entire body and hence the intake of nutrients, in particular the B vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin B12. A B12 deficiency can increase the risk of becoming depressed and should therefore be treated immediately. Use our vitamin B12 test kit for this. This checks the concentration of active vitamin B12 - the so-called holotranscobalamin - in your blood. As this laboratory parameter indicates an empty vitamin B12 store even before the appearance of symptoms, it represents the earliest indication of a vitamin B12 deficiency.