Vitamin B12 plays an important role in ensuring the normal function of the brain and the nervous system.
Folic acid, which is also known as vitamin B9 or folate, is most commonly associated with pregnant women, who take it as a supplement during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects in the developing child.
It has long been known that folic acid and vitamin B12 can boost the function of our immune system and are important for our overall health. However, research has now shown that taking folic acid in conjunction with vitamin B12 can improve the symptoms of those suffering Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
The vast majority of people diagnosed with CFS suffer widespread and persistent pain. Similarly, people suffering FM have many symptoms common to those suffering CFS and it is not uncommon to be diagnosed with both conditions concurrently. For this reason, much of the more recent research into FM has explored the role of central sensitisation, which may underlie a host of chronic pain conditions and suggests that CFS and FM are simply different manifestations of the same underlying problem.
Interestingly, research has demonstrated that the benefits of taking folic acid in conjunction with vitamin B12 were particularly beneficial to those diagnosed as suffering CFS concurrently with FM. It was also found that higher doses of these supplements led to a greater reduction in symptoms. However, those who took the supplements in addition to daily doses of certain medications – Duloxetine, Pregabalin and opiate-based painkillers – benefitted less from taking the supplements.
We understand that doctors treating both CFS and FM are increasingly exploring with their patients ways of incorporating these supplements into their daily medication regime.