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Popular over-the-counter supplement lowers attempts at suicide



Indianapolis, Indiana – According to a recent study, taking an over-the-counter vitamin may lead to fewer suicide attempts.

B vitamin folic acid is widely available in crops like spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. Additionally available over-the-counter, it comes in pill form. Folic acid is recommended for women who want to become pregnant. Scientists now believe it might be used as a medication to stop suicide, though.

One of the major causes of death in the US is suicide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a new report estimating that 47,646 fatalities in 2021 were confirmed as suicides, with increased rates among men undoing two years of gains. According to researchers, the COVID-19 pandemic is mostly to a fault.

University of Chicago researchers hypothesized that folic acid would benefit the brain in the same way it helps the body create new, healthy cells. Patients who were prescribed folic acid for health reasons showed a 44% reduction in suicidal attempts and intentional self-harm compared to those who were not taking it. This was based on an analysis of 886,586 people with confirmed suicide attempts who were identified by data from insurance claims.

“There are no real side effects,” said lead study author, Dr. Robert Gibbons said in a news release. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money and you can get it without a prescription. This could potentially save tens of thousands of lives.”