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March 19, 2013

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Despite larger studies being required to affirm the benefits of folate and vitamin B12 for alleviating negative symptoms of Schizophrenia, this is a very significant finding. I'm not too sure I understand the folate, but the vitamin B12 makes sense, given that its deficiency can result in fatigue, poor memory, and depression at best, and psychosis and mania at worst. The lack of interest, depression, and psychosis are all symptoms found in Schizophrenia, and vitamin B12 may help alleviate some of these. I'm curious to know if anyone understands the significance of folate in helping with these symptoms.

Although this may have the potential to help a small subgroup of individuals with schizophrenia, it seems like it would be a good idea to supplement with this regardless. I am curious to know if it is the combination of the two, or if either folic acid or B12 provides the benefit alone.

After seeing this wonder if they could link this to reduced B12 and folate intake as babies or by their mothers during pregnancy. It seems to have some play in the disease and i would really like to know where the link connects.

While the study size was small, I think that we are just starting to gain a greater understanding of the role of Folate and B-12. I was intrigued with the segment discussing the high functioning variants of the folate regulating gene. Maybe we need to look at other pathways to incrase the function of that gene pathway. Do we need to look at other modalities, such as antibody drug conjugates to deliever a more functional and higher performing action of the pathway? This may provide a more efficient pathway to address this disease state.

I know that vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly is a common cause of dementia. And actually a few elderly patients will be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, until their B12 levels are looked at. It is good that this study found a specific patient population that will benefit from supplementation. Hopefully they will find something that will help a majority of schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenia is definitely a disease that is hard to handle for patients even when they get the help.

While this study shows that the benefit was fairly limited to patients with a specific genotype, I could see prescribers directing their patients to supplement B12/Folate at the beginning of therapy. The cost is relatively low, they are relatively safe, may have some benefit, and many patients with schizophrenia may be deficient in these vitamins if they have been having social issues in the past.

I just read an article in the Lancet by Edward Reynolds about B12 and folate and the neurological effects of deficiency. I was surprised to discover than one of the first signs of megaloblastic anemia was peripheral neuropathy, and cognitive changes and affective disorders were not far behind. I can definitely see the driving force behind the study.

While I'm sure it is not going to cure schizophrenia, It seems to me that it would make sense for these vitamins to be added to a schizophrenic patient's daily regimen (if possible of course, as it is not always easy for schizophrenic patients to take daily meds). My line of thinking is similar to a previous poster who questioned whether a genetic issue was at fault. Perhaps schizophrenic patients are missing/low on an enzyme used to process these vitamins, so supplementation is beneficial. Clearly more biochemical research is needed.

It is always interesting to hear about new natural alternatives for diseases/disorders. Schizophrenia is not an easy disease to control the benefits of this study, although small, is great. I hope more research is done so that an alternative treatment can be found without the side effects that come with traditional treatments. As others have mentioned I am interested to see if just B12 has the effect and a change in diet can just be done or if folate is needed as well.

If you think about the neurological consequences of vitamin B/folate deficiencies, something like this might make sense. However, there are a lot of people that are vitamin B deficient do not develop schizophrenia. Perhaps there is also something genetic (or even just another cofactor) that makes some people more sensitive to even a subclinical deficiency . . . I feel another study in the making . . .

I am glad to see vitamin therapy for mood disorders getting more press lately. Prescribes are so quick to instantly prescribe strong psychotropic medications to patients with mood disorders, when it is important to evaluate the whole patient and any underlying treatable causes of the condition. I have a few patients who have had a lot of success with intensive vitamin therapy for addiction and depression. It is so interesting to see these patients improve more with natural products than strong medications.

It would be interesting to see if either folate or b12 on their own, saw the same results, or if the combination of the 2 agents is needed. It also makes one wonder if people with the high-functioning variants of the folate regulating gene are predisposed to schizophrenia.

I wonder if the selection of B12 and folate showed benefit together, or if it was primarily the folate? Our current treatments for schizophrenia often have affects on dopamine. Dopamine synthesis is regulated by L-methylfolate, which is a derivative of folate.
A deficiency in either of these vitamins can impair the development of red blood cells, maybe a deficiency in folate or B12 likewise impairs neural development (which incidentally occurs in the first twenty years of life)?

I'm so happy to hear a natural product may help with the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia (which often seem most devastating and the most difficult to treat). Even if folate is only effective in a subgroup of patients, the cost effectiveness and potential benefits are certainly worth celebrating.

In my experience, music therapy can be very beneficial as well. I'm so glad that was discussed. A close family friend benefits from playing live guitar and there is a definite difference in this person's mood and affect when he or she plays.

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