- According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, about 200,000 suicide attempts contact the health care system each year. 11,200 people have taken their own lives since 2020. month of January. until 2021 in April
- in 2021 there were 23,791 emergency visits for suicidal ideation, and in 2020 – 17,333. However, the total number of people ending their lives has been decreasing since the mid-1980s, except for teenagers and young women.
A new study of more than 850,000 people found that vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, significantly reduces the risk of suicide. The researchers found that patients who were prescribed vitamin B9 were 44% less likely to attempt suicide and intentionally harm themselves than those who were not. This researchpublished in JAMA Psychiatryconfirms the results of previous work with folic acid.
The researchers considered a number of potential confounders this time, including age, gender, mental health diagnoses, and more. Even after adjusting for each factor, vitamin B9 intake was still associated with a reduced risk of suicide attempt.
Vitamin B9: it could “save tens of thousands of lives”
Robert Gibbons, a professor of biostatistics and medicine at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, hopes the discovery could improve suicide prevention efforts. “It could save tens of thousands of lives, He said statement. No real side effects, not very expensive, over the counter.”
Vitamin B9 is especially known to pregnant women, as it is given to them as soon as they plan to become pregnant, in order to reduce the risk of birth defects. In fact, Professor Gibbons’ team initially thought that folic acid’s surprising results in reducing suicide attempts were due to the fact that pregnant women are more likely to commit suicide. However, they found exactly the same effect in men.
Suicidal behavior: ‘folic acid may be a safe treatment’
The researchers even found that the longer a person took vitamin B9, the lower the risk of suicide attempts. During the 24 months of the study, each month of vitamin B9 prescription was associated with an additional 5% lower risk of suicide.
As a result, the authors speculated that perhaps people who took the vitamins would be more likely to improve their health in general and thus be less likely to attempt suicide. To investigate this hypothesis, they performed a similar analysis with another dietary supplement, vitamin B12, as a control. However, unlike folic acid, there is no link between vitamin B12 and suicide risk.
If the results of this study are confirmed, “Folic acid may be a safe, inexpensive, and widely available treatment option for patients with suicidal ideation or behavior.”the authors note.