This site is intended for health professionals only

Bread could beat depression

Adding folic acid to bread could help in the fight against depression, say researchers.

This development comes only a week after reported of the Food Standard Agency's recommendations to fortify flour with folic acid, in order to prevent neural defects in babies.

Scientists at the University of York and Hull York Medical School have reviewed 11 past studies involving over 15,000 participants.

They now confirm that low levels of folates are linked to depression.

Simon Gilbody commented: "Our study is unique in that for the first time, all the relevant evidence in this controversial area has been brought together.

"Although the research does not prove that low folate causes depression, we can now be sure that the two are linked."

Recent research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has also proved that people with depression tend to have a gene that leads their body to process folates inefficiently.

Depression affects between 5 and 10% of the UK population and is the third most common reason why patients visit primary carers.

"Interestingly, there is also some trial evidence that suggests folic acid supplements can benefit people with depression," says Gilbody.

"We recommend that large trials should be carried out to further test this suggestion."

Flour should be folic acid fortified

University of York

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I will possibly help people with alcohol dependence too. As long as people have the choice to select what is best for them, I am for it" - Name and address supplied