Effects of once-a-week or daily folic acid supplementation on red blood cell folate concentrations in women

B. Norsworthy, C. Murray Skeaff, C. Adank, T. J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Our aim was to determine if a once-a-week folic acid supplement increases women's red blood cell folate to concentrations (>905 nmol/l) that are associated with a low risk of bearing a child with a neural tube defect. Design: Randomized control trial. Setting: General community. Subjects: In total, 114 nonpregnant women (18-40 y) volunteers, with red blood cell folate concentrations between 295 and 905 nmol/l at screening. Intervention: Women were randomized to receive a once-a-week 2800 μg folic acid supplement, a daily 400 μg folic acid supplement or a daily placebo for 12 weeks. Results: The mean (95% CI) red blood cell folate concentrations increased during the 12-week intervention from 608 (553-668) to 900 (828-978) in the weekly folic acid group (P<0.05) and from 615 (560-677) to 1053 (957-1158) nmol/l in the daily group (P<0.05) during the trial. At week 12, 49% of women ingesting the weekly folic acid supplement had red blood cell folate concentrations greater than 905 nmol/l compared to 74% of women ingesting the daily supplement. Conclusion: A once-a-week 2800 μg folic acid supplement can increase women's red blood cell folate to concentrations associated with a reduced risk of bearing a child with a neural tube defect, but is less effective than a 400 μg daily supplement. Use of a weekly folic acid supplement over at least 12 weeks before conception by women of child-bearing age may prevent neural tube defects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-554
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004

Keywords

  • Folate
  • Folic acid
  • Neural tube defects
  • Red Blood cell folate
  • Women of reproductive age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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