Study shows folic acid can interrupt specific mental health drugs
Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take
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Vitamins and minerals are essential. Especially during winter, when you’re more susceptible to disease, substances like vitamin D can help to boost your immune system. But scientists are always learning more about how supplements interact with medications or eating different foods.
According to a study, folic acid supplements may interfere with certain mental health drugs.
If you’re on these, you may want to speak with your doctor about the interference.
Folic acid can be found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and many other foods. It’s very beneficial for the body and is linked to the production of healthy blood cells.
It’s often taken as a supplement to treat folic acid deficiency anaemia. It’s also taken during pregnancy to “avoid development problems”, explains the NHS.
But the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, found that folic acid can interrupt the long-term benefits of drugs taken for certain psychiatric illnesses.
Quetiapine and lamotrigine are often combined to treat people with bipolar disorder.
However, if they’re taken with folic acid, which is frequently used by pregnant women, the benefits may be blocked – the study suggests.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s “possible” that folic acid may also interact with barbiturates and anticonvulsant drugs.
Mayo Clinic says: “Taking folic acid with a drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant (barbiturate) might decrease the drug’s effectiveness.”
Barbiturates – which do exactly that – are used in the treatment of many mental health conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and neonatal withdrawal.
The health body adds that methotrexate may also be interfered with by folic acid.
Folic acid isn’t the only nutrient that has been shown to interact badly with mental health drugs.
Specific compounds in grapefruit can also intensify the circulation of prescribed drugs, making side effects more likely.
It also reported that taking St John’s wort – a herbal supplement also used to treat depression – can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
The supplement can also cause side effects if mixed with other antidepressant drugs.
General possible side effects of folic acidBut it’s important to know that Folic Acid is overall considered safe to consume.
However, according to Mayo Clinic, the side effects that could occur include:
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep pattern disturbances.
If you’re unsure about taking any form of supplement, speak with your doctor for advice.
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