Dietary supplements Supplementation

Methylfolate and the effectiveness of antidepressants

The disturbing trend in the development of depression in a developed society means that the topic of treatment of this condition is often raised. The most commonly used drugs are those from the SSRI group, and many people complain about the lack of satisfying effects or the need for multiple changes before they hit the right one. As it turns out, there are some simple factors that determine the effectiveness of this group of drugs. One of them is the folanian economy.

Researchers conducted a study in which 242 people with depression aged 18-70 participated. Each of these people received SSRI or SNRIs, of which 97 people received an additional 7.5 or 15 mg of methylfolate (an active form of vitamin B9). The study lasted 60 days.

The results of the trial showed that methylfolate improves the effectiveness of treatment. A significant improvement was noted in 18.5% of subjects in the methylfolate group, compared to 7.04% in SSRI / SNRI monotherapy. Side effects were similar in both groups, but the difference was in the frequency of withdrawal from treatment because of their presence. In the group with methyl folate it was 17.9%, and in monotherapy as much as 34%. Methylofolate also allowed you to feel the therapeutic effect faster, and as you know, SSRI usually produce good results only after at least a dozen or so days have elapsed. On this basis, it can be concluded that the addition of an active form of B9 to traditional antidepressant treatment significantly improves the benefit-loss balance and encourages more people to continue treatment, despite the occurrence of some side effects.

Lawrence D. Ginsberg, MD, Alondra Y. Oubre, PhD, and Yahya A. DaouD, MS „L-methylfolate Plus SSRI or SNRI from Treatment Initiation Compared to SSRI or SNRI Monotherapy in a Major Depressive Episode” Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011 Jan; 8(1): 19–28. Published online 2011 Jan. PMCID: PMC3036555


In contrast, in another trial where synthetic folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamic acid) was used as an agent to support antidepressant treatment did not give the desired effect, and the authors suggest that the use of methylfolate may be a more beneficial solution.

Bedson E et. al. „Folate Augmentation of Treatment–Evaluation for Depression (FolATED): randomised trial and economic evaluation.” Health Technol Assess. 2014 Jul;18(48):vii-viii, 1-159. doi: 10.3310/hta18480.

These studies were carried out because of the premises suggesting linking B9 deficits with a greater frequency of depression. The vitamins from group B are undoubtedly of great importance in maintaining good mental health as they participate in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that not only does the supply of a given vitamin matter, but also what happens to it in the body. Certain genetic conditions may impair the conversion of folic acid to its active form - 5-MTHF. Such a condition is the polymorphism in the MTHFR gene, which contrary to appearances affects a large part of society. For this reason, when we decide to supplement with B9, it’s best to reach immediately for its active form, which is methylfolate.

About author



I am a graduate of the Physical Education course of Western University of Health Sciences. A lot of personal experience with dietetics and activities perfectly compliments my high-school knowledge.

I am the coach of the second class of canoeing. Instructor of swimming, gymnastics, athletics, and pilates. For 16 years, I have been practising canoeing - I have won many medals in international competitions.

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