Over 45,000 people will commit suicide in the US in 2020, making it one of the major causes of death.
Experts offer several measures and therapies to lower the risk of suicide, including psychotherapy, peer support, economic support, and drugs like antidepressants.
Supplements containing folic acid are unlikely to be included on that list by many people, but a recent study from the University of Chicago may change that.
The study, which included information from 866,586 patients’ health insurance claims, was released on September 28th and examined the association between folic acid therapy and suicide attempts over a two-year period.
They discovered that individuals who took folic acid, generally known as vitamin B9, as prescribed saw a 44% decrease in suicidal incidents (suicide attempts and intentional self-harm).
Lead author of the study and Blum-Riese Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine at the University of Chicago, Robert Gibbons, Ph.D., is optimistic that these findings may enhance efforts to prevent suicide, particularly given how widely available folic acid is.
“There are no real side effects, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, you can get it without a prescription,” Gibbons said. “This could potentially save tens of thousands of lives.”