Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid and Psychosis: A Review
Schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) represent a cluster of severe mental illnesses. Vitamins are known to play a role in various aspects of health and disease; however, the exact role of vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid in the development and progression of SSD are not clear. These vitamins play a role in the one-carbon metabolism cycle which is hypothesized to be involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis. This review, a sub-analysis of an extensive scoping review on nutritional interventions for prevention or treatment of mental health symptoms in SSD, aims to collate the existing research and explore hypothesized mechanisms. The literature search yielded a number of studies which met criteria for inclusion including two pre-clinical studies, 48 case reports, 76 cross-sectional studies, 22 experimental studies and seven meta-analyses. Clear associations were found between low levels of folic acid and vitamin B6 in individuals with SSD as well as possible therapeutic benefit with supplementation of vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid. Possible mechanisms include compensation for genetic polymorphisms, the manipulation of homocysteine levels and changes in methylation. Further research is warranted and clinicians may consider supplemental use of these nutrients as adjunctive therapies.
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Monique Aucoin; Laura LaChance
Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine