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High Point Regional Physician Published in the Prestigious Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

4/6/2016

A new clinical study published March 29, 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry by Dr. Andrew Farah, with UNC Regional Psychiatric Associates in High Point, and Dr. Arnold Mech, of the Mech Center in Plano, Texas, showed that reduced B vitamins can be effective in Major Depressive Disorder for individuals with the MTHFR genetic risk for depression.  


Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population over age 18, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Overall, between 20 and 25 percent of adults may suffer an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime. 


The MTHFR gene is responsible for producing an enzyme that enables the body to convert folate, or vitamin B-9, into the exact form needed for various chemical pathways in the brain. As many as 70% of depressed patients have a variant of the MTHFR gene, which means they cannot optimally metabolize folate. This results in elevated levels of homocysteine, which increase an individual’s risk of depression, stroke, dementia, and heart disease among other issues. 


Dr. Farah elaborates, “When we give brain the material it needs to metabolize homocysteine, four things happen: we eliminate the toxic burden of homocysteine, we allow for antioxidant production, which protects the brain, and we methylate our DNA, which directs which genes are expressed and which are not. The fourth thing that happens is the optimal production of serotonin and norepinephrine, transmitters in short supply for depressed patients.”


The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on March 29, and is the first placebo-controlled, double-blind study that examined the effects of an all-natural vitamin based therapy to show remission in a large number of the participants.  The study included 330 patients with MDD who had the MTHFR genetic marker for depression.  Of those 330 patients, 160 received a placebo, and approximately 170 received Enlyte, an all-natural prescription of metabolized vitamin B. 


“As early as week one there was notable differences between patients taking Enlyte and patients taking placebo,” said Dr. Farah.  “These differences increased as the weeks went on in the trial.  By week eight, 42 percent of the patients receiving Enlyte had achieved full remission of MDD, and 70 percent had some measurable level of improvement in their depression.”


“We think this represents a shift in the way we think about depression and the way we treat depression. For decades we have been prescribing agents that block neurotransmitters, now we can address the genetic basis of depression and allow for the optimal production of neurotransmitters,” said Dr. Farah. “Finally, Enlyte is a very safe option for patients. All side effects were a placebo rate, or lower, and we did not see weight gain, sexual side effects, nor withdrawal syndromes. No one in the study became manic, or had new-onset suicidal thinking. Because the identical ingredients are found in the prenatal vitamin for high risk pregnancies, Embrace HR, it is the obvious choice for pregnant patients needing depression therapy.”


For more information about this study, please visit http://www.psychiatrist.com/JCP/article/Pages/2016/aheadofprint/15m10166.aspx. 


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