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Health Spotlight: Folic acid seen to reduce suicidal thoughts

(Image from Video Aired on WISH)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — 12.2 million Americans suffered from suicidal thoughts in recent years. 1.2 million of those individuals attempted suicide and rates have risen 30% since the year 2000.

However, recent research has found that prescription folic acid has reduced suicidal thoughts and ideation by 44% in patients.

Research from the University of Chicago examined folic acid treatment from over 800,000 Americans, studying the group’s 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. It is not simply through the risk of psychiatric disorders,” Douglas Ruderfer, an associate professor of genetic medicine, biomedical informatics, and psychiatry at Vanderbilt said.

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,” Ruderfer said.

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 to suicide.

Folic acid is available without a prescription.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.

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