Medical Moment: Folic acid supplement reduces suicidal risk, study says

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 5:55 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WNDU) - 12,200,000 Americans suffered from suicidal thoughts in recent years.

1,200,000 of those individuals attempted suicide, and rates have risen 30% since the year 2000.

New research finds prescription folic acid reduces suicidal thoughts by 44% in patients. Research from the University of Chicago examined folic acid treatment from over 800,000 Americans, and their suicidal behavior over a two-year period.

“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,” said Douglas Ruderfer, PhD, an associate professor in genetic medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Patients who took folic acid encountered a 44% reduction in suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors.

“That is independent of psychiatric conditions which often present with suicide attempts but is biologically correlated with other non-psychiatric risk factors,” Dr. Ruderfer explained.

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.

If you or anyone you know is at risk of suicide, help is available.

Call or test the Crisis Lifeline at 988 anytime.