little guyClaire Williamson, Nutrition Scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation in London, has reviewed the evidence.

Here are the highlights

  • In observational studies, poor micronutrient status (particularly folate and vitamin B12) is associated with an increased risk of depression in older people.
    • In observational studies the participants are followed and outcomes are measured, but there’s no attempt to influence the outcomes.
  • Supplementation with folic acid enhances anti-depressant drug treatment and there’s some evidence that supplementation with certain micronutrients may help improve depressive symptoms in older patients.
  • There”s interest in the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in depression. However, the evidence limited and difficult to evaluate due to considerable variability between studies

The bottom line?

The author concludes, “Research highlights the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle to help maintain good mental health into old age and health professionals should try to support older people in trying to achieve this.”

12/13/09 20:07 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.