Folate Deficiency: Is it Related to the Development of Depression
Keywords:Depression, Folate, Hamilton depression rating Scale (HAM)
Objectives: To determine the frequency of serum folate deficiency among patients with depression and to compare mean serum folate levels with the severity level of depression.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Armed Forces Institute of Mental Health, Rawalpindi Pakistan, from Sep 2021 to Feb 2022.
Methodology: We consecutively recruited 155 study subjects. Basic demographic data were recorded. The severity of depression was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale–Urdu version (HAM-D U). Blood samples were collected to determine serum folate before commencing any treatment for depression; serum Folate levels were assessed at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Results: The mean HAM-D score was 17.14±4.29, with minimum and maximum scores of 8 and 22. 97(62.6%) cases had mild– moderate depression, and 58(37.4%) patients had severe depression. The mean serum folate levels were 3.10±1.40 ng/ml. There were 57(36.8%) cases that had normal folate levels, 45(29%) cases that had borderline folate levels, and 53(34.2%) cases that had folate deficiency. The frequency of borderline folate deficiency was statistically higher in cases with severe depression, (p-value<0.001).
Conclusion: Results of this study highlight that the frequency of borderline–folate deficiency was statistically higher in cases with moderate and severe depression.