Important micronutrient deficiencies in at-risk populations can be addressed simultaneously with programmatically cost-effective results. Because of the interaction between many micronutrients, this would also be biologically effective. With adequate investment and political support, the chances of eliminating iodine deficiency as a problem in women of reproductive age and young children and of eliminating vitamin A deficiency as a problem in young children in the future are high. To eliminate iron deficiency and folic-acid-dependent neural tube defects (FADNTDs) in low-income populations, a new set of approaches will have to be developed. These same approaches, if successful, could be used to tackle other important micronutrient deficiencies. (+info)
Age-related hearing loss, vitamin B-12, and folate in elderly women.
BACKGROUND: Hearing impairment is 1 of the 4 most prevalent chronic conditions in the elderly. However, the biological basis of age-related hearing loss is unknown. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to test the hypothesis that age-related hearing loss may be associated with poor vitamin B-12 and folate status. DESIGN: A thorough audiometric assessment was conducted in 55 healthy women aged 60-71 y. Hearing function was determined by the average of pure-tone air conduction thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz and was categorized into 2 groups for logistic regression analyses: normal hearing (<20 dB hearing level; n = 44) and impaired hearing (> or = 20 dB hearing level; n = 11). RESULTS: Mean age was the same (65 y) for the normal hearing and impaired hearing groups. Pure-tone averages were inversely correlated with serum vitamin B-12 (r = -0.58, P = 0.0001) and red cell folate (r = -0.37, P = 0.01). Women with impaired hearing had 38% lower serum vitamin B-12 (236 compared with 380 pmol/L, respectively, P = 0.008) and 31% lower red cell folate (425 compared with 619 nmol/L, respectively, P = 0.02) than women with normal hearing. Among participants who did not take supplements containing vitamin B-12 or folate, women with impaired hearing had 48% lower serum vitamin B-12 (156 compared with 302 pmol/L, respectively, P = 0.0007) and 43% lower red cell folate (288 compared with 502 nmol/L, respectively, P = 0.001) than women with normal hearing. CONCLUSION: Poor vitamin B-12 and folate status may be associated with age-related auditory dysfunction. (+info)
Folate nutriture alters choline status of women and men fed low choline diets.
Choline and folate share methylation pathways and, in studies of rats, were shown to be metabolically inter-related. To determine whether choline status is related to folate intake in humans, we measured the effect of controlled folate depletion and repletion on the plasma choline and phosphatidylcholine concentrations of 11 healthy men (33-46 y) and 10 healthy women (49-63 y) fed low-choline diets in two separate metabolic unit studies. Total folate intake was varied by supplementing low folate (25 and 56 microg/d for men and women, respectively) and low choline (238 and 147 mg/d for men and women, respectively) diets with pteroylglutamic acid for 2-6 wk following folate-depletion periods of 4-5 wk. The low folate/choline intakes resulted in subclinical folate deficiencies; mean plasma choline decreases of 28 and 25% in the men and women, respectively; and a plasma phosphatidylcholine decrease of 26% in the men (P < 0. 05). No functional choline deficiency occurred, as measured by serum transaminase and lipid concentrations. The decreases in choline status measures returned to baseline or higher upon moderate folate repletion and were more responsive to folate repletion than plasma folate and homocysteine. Feeding methionine supplements to the men did not prevent plasma choline depletion, indicating that folate is a more limiting nutrient for these methylation pathways. The results indicate that 1) choline is utilized as a methyl donor when folate intake is low, 2) the de novo synthesis of phosphatidylcholine is insufficient to maintain choline status when intakes of folate and choline are low, and 3) dietary choline is required by adults in an amount > 250 mg/d to maintain plasma choline and phosphatidylcholine when folate intake is low. (+info)
Folate metabolism and requirements.
Folate functions in multiple coenzyme forms in acceptance, redox processing and transfer of one-carbon units, including nucleotides and certain amino acids. Folate-requiring metabolic processes are influenced by folate intake, intake of other essential nutrients, including vitamins B-12 and B-6, and at least one common genetic polymorphism. Estimates of folate requirements have been based on intakes associated with maintenance of normal plasma and erythrocyte folate concentrations and functional tests that reflect abnormalities in folate-dependent reactions. Dietary Reference Intakes for folate that have been developed recently are based primarily on metabolic studies in which erythrocyte folate concentration was considered the major indicator of adequacy. For adults >/=19 y, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 400 microg/d of dietary folate equivalents (DFE); for lactating and pregnant women, the RDAs include an additional 100 and 200 microg of DFE/d, respectively. (+info)
Blood folate and vitamin B12: United States, 1988-94.
OBJECTIVES: This report presents national estimates of serum and red blood cell (RBC) folate and serum vitamin B12 distributions for persons 4 years and over, by sociodemographic variables. METHODS: The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) (1988-94), provides information on the health and nutritional status of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population. The analytic sample included 23,378 participants with serum folate data, 23,082 with RBC folate data, and 11,851 with serum vitamin B12 data. RESULTS: The mean serum and RBC folate concentrations are 7.2 and 196 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), respectively, and the mean serum vitamin B12 concentration is 518 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). Non-Hispanic white people have higher mean serum and RBC folate concentrations than non-Hispanic black or Mexican American people. Serum vitamin B12 concentrations are lowest for older adults, and non-Hispanic black people have higher serum B12 concentrations than non-Hispanic white individuals. Only approximately 3 percent of the population has a serum B12 concentration less than 200 pg/mL. CONCLUSIONS: Inadequate folate status may be more prevalent among non-Hispanic black and Mexican American people. Data also suggest a modest prevalence of low serum B12 concentrations. Future assessments of folate and vitamin B12 status will be important to evaluate the impact of a recently enacted fortification policy. (+info)
The effect of folic acid fortification on plasma folate and total homocysteine concentrations.
BACKGROUND: In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration issued a regulation requiring all enriched grain products to be fortified with folic acid to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects in newborns. Fortification (140 microg per 100 g) began in 1996, and the process was essentially complete by mid-1997. METHODS: To assess the effect of folic acid fortification on folate status, we measured plasma folate and total homocysteine concentrations (a sensitive marker of folate status) using blood samples from the fifth examination (January 1991 to December 1994) of the Framingham Offspring Study cohort for baseline values and the sixth examination (January 1995 to August 1998) for follow-up values. We divided the cohort into two groups on the basis of the date of their follow-up examination: the study group consisted of 350 subjects who were seen after fortification (September 1997 to March 1998), and the control group consisted of 756 subjects who were seen before fortification (January 1995 to September 1996). RESULTS: Among the subjects in the study group who did not use vitamin supplements, the mean folate concentrations increased from 4.6 to 10.0 ng per milliliter (11 to 23 nmol per liter) (P<0.001) from the baseline visit to the follow-up visit, and the prevalence of low folate concentrations (<3 ng per milliliter [7 nmol per liter]) decreased from 22.0 to 1.7 percent (P< 0.001). The mean total homocysteine concentration decreased from 10.1 to 9.4 micromol per liter during this period (P<0.001), and the prevalence of high homocysteine concentrations (>13 micromol per liter) decreased from 18.7 to 9.8 percent (P<0.001). In the control group, there were no statistically significant changes in concentrations of folate or homocysteine. CONCLUSIONS: The fortification of enriched grain products with folic acid was associated with a substantial improvement in folate status in a population of middle-aged and older adults. (+info)
Parenteral vitamin requirements during intravenous feeding.
Serum vitamin levels of 40 patients undergoing parenteral nutrition over a 5-to 42-day period were studied while the subjects received daily water-soluble and once weekly fat soluble vitamin formulations intravenously. Initial serum deficiencies of vitamins A, C, and folate were noted in a large portion of the severely malnourished population. At the replacement levels used in this study a small number of patients developed subnormal levels of vitamins A and D. Improvement in levels for vitamin C and folate were noted for most patients. Vitamin B12 deficiencies were not noted in any patient. Currently available commercial vitamin preparations can be used with safety in the parenterally nourished population and recommended guidelines for weekly infusion of both water and fat soluble vitamins are presented. (+info)
Is pregnancy in diabetic women associated with folate deficiency?
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether folate metabolism in pregnant diabetic women is significantly different from that in pregnant nondiabetic women, thus predisposing them to having offspring with major congenital anomalies. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 31 pregnant diabetic women and 54 pregnant nondiabetic control subjects were studied at their first prenatal visits. Dietary folate intake, serum folate, red blood cell folate, urinary folate, and homocysteine were measured and compared after controlling for folate supplementation. Among diabetic women the relationships among parameters of folate metabolism and glycemic control were also assessed. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the pregnant diabetic and non-diabetic women for any measures of folate metabolism after accounting for folate supplementation. In addition, among diabetic women, there were no associations among parameters of folate metabolism and glycemic control. CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal folate metabolism does not appear to occur in pregnant diabetic women. It is unlikely that deranged folate metabolism explains the higher incidence of major anomalies in infants of diabetic mothers. These results do not diminish the importance of periconception folate supplementation or preclude other possible scenarios that could restrict folate use by the embryo, leading to congenital anomalies. (+info)