Deficiency of folic acid increases the risk for neural tube defects among newborn children and megaloblastic anaemia in the mother. The aim of this study was to make a survey of how midwives working in maternity health care, family planning guidance, and specialist prenatal care in a Swedish county inform women of childbearing age about folic acid. The questionnaire study showed that 79% of the midwives informed the women about folic acid. Usually, the women received information first when they asked for it and midwifes were less prone to inform young women about folic acid. 87% of the midwives felt that they did not know enough about folic acid. CONCLUSIONS: Midwives play an important role in information about the need of folic acid intake for women in childbearing age. Changes in local routines, guidelines and further education of midwifes would subsequently provide information about the importance of folic acid to women in childbearing age.
BACKGROUND: Elevated concentrations of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and serum total cholesterol are risk factors for ischemic heart disease (IHD). Previous studies showed that the consumption of very high doses of unfiltered coffee increases tHcy and total cholesterol. OBJECTIVE: A prospective intervention study was performed to assess the effects of coffee consumption on the concentrations of tHcy and total cholesterol by using doses and brewing methods common in southeastern Norway. DESIGN: The study was an unblinded, controlled trial with 191 healthy, nonsmoking, coffee-drinking volunteers aged 24-69 y randomly assigned to 3 groups who were asked to consume for 6 consecutive weeks no coffee, 1-3 cups (approximately 175-525 mL)/d, or > or =4 cups (approximately 700 mL)/d prepared in the manner to which they were accustomed. Blood samples were drawn when the subjects were randomly assigned and at 3 and 6 wk of the trial. Dietary data were collected by questionnaire. RESULTS: Ninety-seven percent of the participants reported being regular consumers of caffeinated filtered coffee. Abstention from coffee for 6 wk was associated with a decrease in the tHcy concentration of 1.08 micromol/L and a decrease in the total cholesterol concentration of 0.28 mmol/L in participants who had been drinking on average 4 cups of filtered coffee daily for the past year. Adjustments for several possible confounders did not alter the results. CONCLUSION: Abstention from filtered coffee in doses that are commonly consumed was associated with lower concentrations of tHcy and total cholesterol.
This study examined 3 approaches to achieving the public health recommendation that all women of child-bearing age ingest 0.40 mg of folic acid per day to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs).
A total of 1136 mothers of infants with major malformations from the Boston and Philadelphia areas, whose pregnancies began from 1993 to 1995, were interviewed within 6 months of delivery about vitamin supplementation, dietary intakes, and other factors.
Seventy-one percent of the 1136 women in the study did not take folic acid--containing supplements daily before conception, but the proportion decreased over the years of the study. Women not taking supplements consumed an average of 0.25 mg of naturally occurring folates daily. On the basis of dietary intakes reported by women not taking folic acid supplements, a simulation of cereal grain fortification with folic acid at the level required by the US Food and Drug Administration showed that an average of only 0.13 mg of folic acid would be ingested daily.
With consumption of folic acid only through dietary intake, sizeable portions of the childbearing population would receive less than the level of folic acid recommended for preventing NTDs. Even with food fortification, women of childbearing age should be advised to take folic acid--containing supplements on a daily basis.
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Adequacy of intake for niacin, folate, and vitamin B12 from food was estimated in an adult population in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Also considered was whether study findings support current Canadian food fortification policies.
Four hundred randomly selected adult NL residents were surveyed by telephone. Secondary analysis was performed on two 24-hour food recalls for each participant. Mean daily intakes of niacin, folate, and vitamin B12 were estimated from foods only and compared by sex/age subgroup. Adequacy of intakes was estimated. Contributions of folate by ready-to-eat cereal and bread products were also estimated.
Intakes of all three nutrients were higher in men. In comparison with recommendations, daily niacin intakes were as follows: excessive for 21.9% of all participants (and for 56.8% of men aged 28 to 54), within the recommended range for 73.6%, and less than adequate for 4.5%. In comparison with recommendations, daily folate intakes were as follows: within the recommended range for 18.1% of participants and less than adequate for 81.9%. In comparison with recommendations, daily vitamin B12 intakes were less than adequate for 36.3% of participants.
More than 20% of those surveyed were consuming, from food alone, niacin at levels above the maximum recommended. Food fortification policies pertaining to niacin should be revisited. In addition, despite fortification, NL adults may be consuming inadequate amounts of folate from foods.
This study aimed to assess whether adolescents have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (APO) compared to adult women. We used data on 43,327 births from the population-based Arkhangelsk County Birth Registry, Northwest Russia, for 2012-2014. The perinatal outcomes included stillbirth, preterm birth (
Recent evidence suggests that periconceptional folic acid use could not only prevent neural tube defects but also other malformations. The objectives of this study were to assess trends in dispensed high dose periconceptional folic acid (5 mg) and birth prevalence of major congenital malformations.
The Quebec Pregnancy Registry, an administrative database with information on periconceptional prescribed medication and diagnostic codes was used to conduct this study. All pregnant women insured by the Quebec public drug plan between January 1(st) 1998 and December 31(st) 2008 were included. The exposure was defined as the use of high dose periconceptional folic acid 30 days before, and during the first 70 days of pregnancy. The outcome measured was the birth prevalence of major congenital malformations among live births.
We identified 152,392 pregnancies and babies. The annual prevalence of high dose periconceptional folic acid use increased from 0.17% to 0.80% (p
Plasma homocysteine has been reported to be useful in the evaluation of patients with suspected vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. In November 1998, Canada began its mandatory fortification of all flour, and some corn and rice products, with folic acid. We evaluated the status of folate and vitamin B12 in Ontario since this fortification program began, and also studied the role of plasma homocysteine in the assessment of vitamin B12 deficiency since that time.
A retrospective cross-sectional study design was performed using a community database of all Ontario samples analyzed by MDS Laboratories, a major provider of diagnostic laboratory services in Canada. All consecutive single-patient fasting samples for plasma homocysteine collected between January 1 and September 30, 1999 were included, as well as corresponding red cell folate and serum B12 concentrations. Data for serum folate were included when available. Descriptive statistics included the arithmetic and geometric means for each measure, as well as the lower and upper centile values. After excluding cases with a concomitant serum creatinine > 120 micromol/L or red cell folate 15 micromol/L did not discriminate between cobalamin concentrations below versus above 120 pmol/L (positive and negative predictive values 7.4% and 97.2%, respectively), nor did it discriminate "indeterminate" B12 levels between 120 and 150 pmol/L (positive and negative predictive values 6.3% and 94.0%, respectively).
In a large select group of Ontarians, serum and red cell folate concentrations appear to be higher than expected, possibly due to a recent national folate fortification programme; cobalamin levels are no higher than expected. Given our inability to detect mild B12 deficiency using such indicators as plasma homocysteine, and considering the substantial growth in the elderly segment of the Canadian population, occult cobalamin deficiency could become a common disorder. Accordingly, we recommend either consideration of the addition of vitamin B12 to the current folate fortification programme, and/or the development of better methods for the detection of cobalamin deficiency.
Dietary intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids (FA) may be associated with superior response to antirheumatic treatments. In addition, dietary folate intake may be associated with worse response to methotrexate (MTX). The aim of this study was to investigate the association between dietary vitamin D, omega-3 FA, folate and treatment results of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This prospective study was based on data from the Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) study, and included 727 patients with early RA from 10 hospitals in Sweden. Data on dietary vitamin D, omega-3 FA and folate intake based on food frequency questionnaires were linked with data on European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response after 3?months of DMARD treatment. Associations between vitamin D, omega-3 FA, folate and EULAR response were analysed with logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders.
The majority of patients (89.9%) were initially treated with MTX monotherapy and more than half (56.9%) with glucocorticoids. Vitamin D and omega-3 FA were associated with good EULAR response (OR 1.80 (95% CI 1.14 to 2.83) and OR 1.60 (95% CI 1.02 to 2.53), respectively). Folate was not significantly associated with EULAR response (OR 1.20 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.91)). Similar results were seen in a subgroup of patients who were initially treated with MTX monotherapy at baseline.
Higher intake of dietary vitamin D and omega-3 FA during the year preceding DMARD initiation may be associated with better treatment results in patients with early RA. Dietary folate intake was not associated with worse or better response to treatment, especially to MTX. Our results suggest that some nutrients may be associated with enhanced treatment results of DMARDs.
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BACKGROUND: Deficiency of folate has been associated with several disorders characterized by enhanced activation of the cellular immune system (non-allergic th1 type immune response). Whether folate status is also associated with atopic disease (allergic th2 type immune response) is unknown. We aimed at examining the association between atopy and markers of impaired folate metabolism, i.e. MTHFR(C677T) genotype, plasma total homocysteine, and dietary intakes of methionine, folates, and vitamins B12, B6, and B2. METHODS: Cross-sectional population-based study of 1,671 male and female residents of Copenhagen County, Denmark, aged 30-60 years participating in a health examination during 1999-2001. Atopy was defined as positive levels of specific IgE against a panel of inhalant allergens. MTHFR(C677T) genotype was determined by PCR followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses. Total homocysteine was measured by fluorescent polarization immunoassay. Dietary vitamin intakes were estimated from a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: The prevalence of atopy was associated with MTHFR(C677T) genotype. TT individuals had a significantly higher risk of atopy compared with CC/CT individuals [odds ratio 1.76, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.19-2.60]. Additionally, gene-diet interaction effects were identified. Dietary markers were negatively associated with risk of atopy in persons with the TT genotype. Total homocysteine was not related to atopy (odds ratio per 5 mumol/l = 1.12, 95% CI 0.98-1.29). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that an impaired folate metabolism may be causally related to the development of atopy.