Folate, also known as folic acid or Vitamin B9, is an important nutrient, present in leafy green vegetables and in fortified grain products. Low folate levels have been associated with depression and dementia in some studies. That said, some studies need to be updated to take account of the widespread use of fortified grain products (required in the U.S. since 1998) and B vitamin supplements (B6 and B12 in addition to B9).
Folate is a promising stand-alone and adjunctive treatment for depression. Researchers have observed some potential positive effects of folate and other B vitamins (B6 and B12 in addition to B9) on the aging brain, but folate supplementation appears to be a promising practice only for mild cognitive impairment. Still, almost everyone should be sure to eat lots of leafy green vegetables (and fortified grains, if they are well tolerated)) especially as they get older, appetites decrease and illnesses multiply. And B vitamin supplements are a prudent neuroprotectant.
There appears to be no reason for children or pregnant or lactating women to avoid folate.
Side Effects & Drug Interactions
Aside from allergic reactions, folate and B vitamins are generally quite safe. Possible prescription drug interactions which should be considered by prescribing physicians. No interactions with psychotropic drugs have been noted.