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Neurotransmitters, Inflammation, L-methyl Folate, & Depression

You are depressed and taking medication. You feel somewhat better but not all the way well. Should you switch antidepressants or have another major psychotropic medication added to your existing antidepressant? Before you do this, consider whether you may have a low central nervous system (CNS) folate levels.

Folate is a critical vitamin needed by your brain to transform amino acids (from dietary protein) into key brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine. If your brain folate levels are low, you cannot make sufficient neurotransmitters. If so, not even the best antidepressant will work optimally. You may get better, but will you get well?

Find out what the signs (fatigue, inflammation, pain, being overweight, and other sickness behaviors), causes (diet, inflammation, environmental toxins, lifestyle, genetic mutations), and risk factors (age, depression, medications, other medical conditions) are for low folate.

Won’t the folic acid in your current multi-vitamin or B vitamin complex take care of this? Probably not. For many people with depression, they cannot convert this synthetic form of folate (or for that matter, they cannot convert dietary folate from green leafy vegetables) into the only form of folate – L-methylfolate – that can get through the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and into their brains. You may be one of those.

For that reason, I (Dr. Dave) only use that specific form of folate: L-methylfolate. But be careful, not all L- methyfolate is the same. The two that I trust and use most often, depending on your insurance coverage and whether I’m your personal physician or your health consultant, are Deplin and our own IP Formula’s Methyl Esssentials.

Deplin, a medical food, requires a prescription from your clinician, and if not covered by your insurance, may be unaffordable. It is of high quality made by a superb company supported by a topnotch sales and marketing team. You cannot buy it directly, however.

I also trust our over-the-counter form of L-methyfolate: Methyl Essentials. It, too, is of very high quality, is competitively priced, is ideally dosed, and combines with it the most bio-active form of Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). This is particularly important in our elder patients and clients. Here are the specs on Methyl Essentials:
IP Formulas Methyl Essentials L 5 MTHF 6.5 mg & B12 2mg contains the most bio-active form of L 5-Methyl folate and methylcobalamin-vitamin B12 and is the only form that crosses the blood brain barrier and thereby increases the production of dopamine, melatonin, serotonin, and DNA.

It can be ordered online here: Methyl Essentials

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