The human brain is a very complex organ. It is part of the central nervous system, the body’s information system. The brain is responsible for making all the other organs and systems work properly. Communication between brain cells (neurons) allows the heart to pump, the lungs to breathe, the intestines to digest food, and other functions that the body performs without you even having to think about it. In the same way, the brain uses communication between neurons to manage mood.
This communication in the brain depends on a series of complex chemical reactions. The right levels of neurotransmitters (like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) are important to these chemical reactions. When someone is depressed, it is believed that the brain does not have the right balance of neurotransmitters. It is thought that antidepressants work by allowing more serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine to remain available to the brain. This helps make sure that the chemical reactions that affect mood can continue smoothly.
|How Antidepressants are Believed to Work|
Deplin®, a medical food, works differently than antidepressants, which are drugs. It contains L-methylfolate, which the brain uses to make more of the neurotransmitters that affect mood. It is known that many people living with depression do not have enough L-methylfolate in their brain. As a result, they have insufficient levels of neurotransmitters, which can lead to depressive symptoms. With enough L-methylfolate and better levels of neurotransmitters, the brain can maintain the chemical reactions that affect mood.
|How Deplin® Works|
Your doctor may prescribe Deplin®, a medical food, in addition to your antidepressant medication. Many people with depression have an imbalance of L-methylfolate in their central nervous system (the body’s information system) which limits the brain’s ability to create the neurotransmitters that control mood.
Some Reasons Why Patients May Have Low L-methylfolate in the Brain Include:
- Anticonvulsant medications used to control seizures and other conditions such as lamotrigine (Lamactil®), valproate/divalproex sodium(Depakote®), and carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®,Tegretol®)
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex®, Texall®) which is commonly used for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Sulphasalazine (Azulfidine®) for inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Metformin (Fortmet®, Glucophage®, Glumetza®) is used to treat type 2 diabetes
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®) is an antidepressant that works as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
- Niacin (Niaspan®, Slo-Niacin®) and fenofibrates (Tricor®, Trilipix®) are commonly used to lower cholesterol
- Warfarin (Coumadin®) is an anticoagulant that prevents blood clots due to irregular heartbeat, prosthetic heart values and heart attack.
- Isotetrinoin (Accutane®, Amnesteem®, Claravis®, Sotret®) a retinoid medication for severe acne
- Atrophic gastritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Renal failure
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Poor nutrition
- L-methylfolate in the brain decreases with age
- Up to 70% of patients with depression have a genetic mistake, called the MTHFR polymorphism. It is an enzyme defect that compromises the body’s ability to break down folate (from the diet or from synthetic folic acid found in vitamin supplements) into the L-methylfolate the brain needs to make neurotransmitters.
Your questions answered:
How does Deplin® work?
Deplin® is a medical food that is used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The L-methylfolate found in Deplin® provides the nutritional requirements to dietarily manage depression by supplying the brain with the L-methylfolate it needs to make the neurotransmitters that regulate mood: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
Why might I need Deplin®?
There are several factors that may put someone at risk of having low levels of L-methylfolate in the brain including some medications, some illnesses, age and genetics. Deplin® is a medical food used under the supervision of a healthcare professional and provides the body with the L-methylfolate needed by some individuals with this deficiency to fulfill the brain’s need to produce enough neurotransmitters to balance mood.
Why did my doctor give me a prescription for Deplin® and a prescription for an antidepressant?
Your doctor may prescribe Deplin®, a medical food, in addition to an antidepressant because he may feel you need additional L-methylfolate to meet the distinct nutritional requirements for the neurotransmitters that are associated with mood.