Effect smoking, alcohol, and oral contraceptives on the folate status of a group of adolescent females

T. Green, L. Houehton, U. Donuvan, R. S. Gibson, P. L. O'Connor

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Earlier studies have demonstrated that oral contraceptive agents (OCAs) are associated with lower blood folate concentrations. The current application of these studies is limited due to the recent development of low dose preparations of OCAs. Consequently, the effect of these new preparations on folate status needs to be evaluated. Additionally, smoking and alcohol use have been shown to adversely affect folate status. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of these lifestyle factors on serum folate and homocysteine. Homocysteine is a functional indicator of folate status because homocysteine conversion to methionine is folate dependent A sample of 229 female adolescents (14-19 yrs) were recruited from Southern Ontario. Dietary folate (via 3d-weighed food records), supplemental folate, and chronological age were included as covariates in the analysis. In contrast to earlier studies, ANCOVA revealed that OCA use (n=48), alcohol use (n=139) and smoking (n=38) were not associated with lower serum folate levels. Homocysteine levels were not associated with smoking nor OCA but, were significantly higher in alcohol users (median 5.81 vs 5.30;p=0.01). In conclusion, the present findings provide no evidence that OCAs or smoking have an impact on the folate status of adolescent females. The effects of alcohol on homocysteine require further investigation. Supported by NSERC of Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A464
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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