Objectives: Vitamin B12, folic acid, and homocysteine play a key role in 'one-carbon metabolism', involved in different brain processes. Altered levels have been reported in mood disorders (MDs), particularly in major depression (MDD), while the information in bipolar disorders (BDs) is limited. The present study aimed at assessing vitamin B12, homocysteine, and folic acid in 69 bipolar inpatients.
Methods: Twenty-seven patients were diagnosed with BDI, 15 BDII, 16 schizoaffective disorders, and 11 MDD, according to DSM-5 criteria. The clinical picture was assessed by the MINI, HRSD, YMRS, and CGI. The blood parameters were measured according to common clinical-chemical methods.
Results: Thirty-four patients had significantly lower vitamin B12, and 14 higher homocysteine levels than normative values. Folic acid levels were normal in the majority of the sample. Patients with a family history of suicide showed significantly lower levels of vitamin B12.
Conclusions: Our results underline the utility of assessing vitamin B12, homocysteine, and folic acid in patients with BD. Although other studies are necessary, the present findings that lower levels of vitamin B12 seem typical of patients with a family history of suicide independently from the phase of illness suggest that they might constitute a possible predictor of suicide.
Keywords: Vitamin B12; bipolar disorders; folic acid; homocysteine; suicide.