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(Reuters Health) – Possessing one or another version of a gene key to metabolizing the B vitamin folate may make a big difference in who responds to vitamin supplements intended to treat negative symptoms of schizophrenia, according to a new study.
Researchers tracked 140 people with schizophrenia for 16 weeks and found that those with the so-called high-functioning FOLH1 gene variant had a greater response to folic acid and B12 supplements, compared to those with the low-functioning FOLH1 variant.
“That’s a gene that actually controls the digestion of folate (or folic acid) into the bloodstream,” said Dr. Joshua Roffman, the study’s lead author from Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown.
Folate, one of the B vitamins, is used in the manufacturing of neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout the brain and body, and it’s found in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and fortified grain products.
Since the 1960s, Roffman told Reuters Health, folate deficiencies have been tied to the development of schizophrenia, and researchers have observed spikes in cases of the mental disorder after famines in China and the Netherlands, for example.
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-b-vitamins-idUSBRE92719120130308#q1z9Y6PMZY8hZqsh.99