Folate and B12 serum levels in association with depression in the aged: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Aging Ment Health. 2016 Sep;20(9):965-73. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1049115. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

Abstract

Objectives: To systematically review and meta-analyse existing evidence on the association between folate/B12, and depression among the aged people.

Methods: Following PRISMA/STROBE guidelines, the Medline abstracts were retrieved using an algorithm comprising relevant MeSH terms. Publications on the association of folate/B12 serum measurements with depression were abstracted independently by two reviewers and included in both gender and gender-specific meta-analyses, following recarculations of published data as appropriate. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to evaluate the quality of included studies.

Results: Both gender data were contributed by 11 folate-related (7949 individuals) and 9 B12-related studies (6308 individuals), whereas gender-specific data by 4 folate-related (3409 individuals) and 3 B12-related studies (1934 individuals). A statistically significant overall association between both exposures of interest (low folate and B12 levels) and depression was observed (ORfolate:1.23, 95%CI:1.07-1.43, ORB12:1.20, 95%CI:1.02-1.42). Gender-specific estimates pointed to a statistically significant positive association between low B12 levels and depression only among women (OR:1.33, 95%CI:1.02-1.74); the gender specific associations of low folate levels with depression were, however, non-significant and of counter-direction (ORfemales:1.37, 95%CI:0.90-2.07; ORmales:0.84, 95%CI:0.57-1.25).

Conclusion: Low folate and B12 serum levels seem to be associated with depression in the aged. The gender-specific analyses are confined to a positive association of low B12 with depression among older women and call for further research in this direction.

Keywords: depression; folate; gender; geriatric; meta-analysis; vitamin B12.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depressive Disorder*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male

Substances

  • Folic Acid