Treating anxiety with folinic acid has been a hot topic in health news recently, thanks in part to Elisa Black, an Australian journalist who, in 2015, wrote about her struggles with lifelong anxiety and how she overcame the disorder with vitamin therapy.
Black described her crippling anxiety as a wild beast that destroyed relationships, plagued her with panic attacks and left her cowering under blankets. Drugs, therapy or meditation didn’t help, but vitamin therapy provided the answers. While Black admits that she still suffers from anxiety, the disorder no longer rules her life.
Black blames her severe anxiety on a double mutation, a condition she discovered with the help of Dr. Andrew Owen, a physician who was committed to helping her discover the reasons for the debilitating anxiety that plagued her since her earliest memory. Dr. Owens suggested that Black be tested for a MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene variation, a common genetic mutation that affects an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all people.
Dr. Owens reports that while all patients don’t improve as dramatically as Black, many have seen significant improvements in disorders such as depression, hypertension and migraine headaches.
It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a single cause of anxiety, which usually involves factors such as family history, trauma, physical health and drug or alcohol addiction. As a result, there currently isn’t a lot of information available about the MTHFR gene mutation and physicians are hesitant to recommend vitamin therapy until more evidence is available.
However, research at University of Pittsburgh indicates that lack of certain B vitamins may contribute to depression, and that patients who don’t respond well to traditional treatments often improve with high high doses of folinic acid. While researchers think the results are promising, the treatment is still under study. Researchers are also hoping to discover what causes the gene abnormality in the first place.
Can it Help You?
In simple terms, the gene mutation makes it difficult for affected individuals to process certain B vitamins that are essential for health, including manufacture of dopamine and serotonin, both critical neurotransmitters associated with anxiety and depression.
However, the deficit may be severe or relatively mild. People with mild forms of anxiety or depression may find improvement by increasing their intake of leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, beans, citrus and brown rice. However, for some people, supplementing with folinic acid may be the most effective way to provide the vitamins in a form that can be effectively processed by the body.
If you suffer with severe anxiety or depression and you suspect you may be a candidate for vitamin therapy, ask your physician to perform a MTHFR test to determine if you have the gene mutation. However, even with the test, the results aren’t always cut and dry, but they may help you and your physician or nutritionist determine if supplementation is worth a try.
Be patient, as supplementation is often a matter of trial and error to determine what types and dosages of vitamins are most effective for you.
Important note: Don’t attempt to self-diagnose your condition, as using the wrong type of vitamin can make anxiety or depression worse.
Addiction and Vitamins
Addiction can have a serious effect on the body’s absorption of vitamins, often altering the way vitamins are used by the body. If you are struggling with addiction, you may want to seek help at a drug and alcohol treatment center or rehab.
At Paracelsus, we know that the proper combination of vitamins can provide help for people struggling with substance abuse, even when the mind and body have been ravaged by years of addiction to drugs or alcohol. We treat clients using an individualized formula of nutritional supplements that may include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other substances that restore biochemical balance.
Often, clients feel an improvement of mood, strength, sleep quality and the disappearance of the above mentioned symptoms within days, sometimes hours.