MTHFR and Risk of Depression

Depression is a common medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think and act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems that decrease your ability to function at work and at home. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Diet and nutrient intake affects the risk of depression. Low levels of folate and vitamin B12 have been linked to increased depression.1 A common genetic variant in the MTHFR gene causes some people to be more susceptible to having low folate levels.

The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase - a key enzyme in the folate metabolism pathway which regulates DNA methylation, synthesis, and repair. Polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene have been studied as possible risk factors for a variety of common conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, high blood pressure during pregnancy, glaucoma, psychiatric disorders, and certain types of cancer.

Low plasma folate and its derivatives have been linked with depressive disorders in studies dating back over 30 years. A recent study showed that the T variant of MTHFR C677T was significantly more common in people with a history of depressive disorder, even with normal levels of folate, homocysteine and vitamin B12. 2

Related to:
folate, homocysteine, vitamin B12, C677T, A1298C