The role of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels in depression is not clear.
To investigate cross-sectional and prospective associations between folate, B12 and homocysteine levels and late-life depression.
A total of 732 Korean people aged 65 years or over were evaluated at baseline. Of the 631 persons who were not depressed, 521 (83%) were followed over a period of 2–3 years and incident depression was ascertained with the Geriatric Mental State schedule. Serum folate, serum vitamin B12 and plasma homocysteine levels were assayed at both baseline and follow-up.
Lower levels of folate and vitamin B12 and higher homocysteine levels at baseline were associated with a higher risk of incident depression at follow-up. Incident depression was associated with a decline in vitamin B12 and an increase in homocysteine levels over the follow-up period.
Lower folate, lower vitamin B12 and raised homocysteine levels may be risk factors for late-life depression.
- © 2008 Royal College of Psychiatrists