Folates and aging: Role in mild cognitive impairment, dementia and depression

João Ricardo Araújo, Fátima Martel, Nuno Borges, João Manuel Araújo, Elisa Keating
Ageing Research Reviews 2015, 22: 9-19
In almost all tissues, including the brain, folates are required for one-carbon transfer reactions, which are essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA nucleotides, the metabolism of amino acids and the occurrence of methylation reactions. The aim of this paper is to review the impact of folate status on the risk of development of neuropsychiatric disorders in older individuals. The prevalence of folate deficiency is high among individuals aged ≥ 65 years mainly due to reduced dietary intake and intestinal malabsorption. Population-based studies have demonstrated that a low folate status is associated with mild cognitive impairment, dementia (particularly Alzheimer's disease) and depression in healthy and neuropsychiatric diseased older individuals. The proposed mechanisms underlying that association include hyperhomocysteinemia, lower methylation reactions and tetrahydrobiopterin levels, and excessive misincorporation of uracil into DNA. However, currently, there is no consistent evidence demonstrating that folic acid supplementation improves cognitive function or slows cognitive decline in healthy or cognitively impaired older individuals. In conclusion, folate deficiency seems to be an important contributor for the onset and progression of neuropsychiatric diseases in the geriatric population but additional studies are needed in order to increase the knowledge of this promising, but still largely unexplored, area of research.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.