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The Best Sort of Balancing Act
Francis Mondimore, M.D.
“Call it guilt by association,” says psychiatrist Francis Mondimore, considering a role for the three B vitamins, folic acid, B-12 and B-6 in depression. Some studies suggest that folic acid lifts mood and that too little B-12 or B-6 does the opposite.
A gifted clinician, Mondimore divides his time between seeing patients and writing for them. Reading his Depression: The Mood Disease and Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families is in itself therapeutic. But Mondimore’s eye is also sharp for research quickly translated to the clinic, as in his study of already-safe B vitamins.
All three, he says, are cogs in brain neurotransmitter machinery. As important, however, is that they lower homocysteine, an intermediate but vile molecule in that same chemical cascade. Mondimore says homocysteine’s recently discovered potential to damp nerve function in the hippocampus and other mood areas in the brain makes it suspect.
A series of studies he’s planned should tell if the vitamins, as a trio, offer relief. The first sees if patients at high risk of depression are more likely to have genetically flawed folate metabolism. The second is to learn if that flaw’s more common in the chronically depressed. Last come the actual trials of the vitamins for