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Dietary counseling to increase natural folate intake: a ransomized placebo-controlled trial in free-living subjects to assess effects on serum folate and plasma total homocysteine.
journal contributionposted on 2002-10-01, 00:00 authored by B Venn, J Mann, S Williams, Lynn RiddellLynn Riddell, A Chisholm, M Harper, W Aitken
BACKGROUND: The association between vascular disease and elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations is caused, in part, by inadequate intakes of dietary folate. Increasing folate intake either through supplements or foods naturally rich in folates has been shown to decrease tHcy concentrations. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine whether a similar reduction in tHcy was possible in free-living persons receiving dietary counseling. DESIGN: The study included a 4-wk placebo-controlled dietary intervention trial in which participants consumed either unfortified breakfast cereal (control group) or an extra 350 micro g folate derived from food/d (dietary group). Serum folate and tHcy concentrations in both groups were measured before and after the intervention period, and the concentrations in the dietary group were also measured 17 wk after the intervention period. RESULTS: During the 4-wk intervention, mean dietary folate intake in the dietary group increased from 263 (95% CI: 225, 307) to 618 micro g/d (535, 714), resulting in a mean increase in serum folate of 37% (15%, 63%) and a decrease in tHcy from 12.0 (10.9, 13.3) to 11.3 micro mol/L (10.2, 12.5). A further decrease in tHcy occurred in the dietary group during follow-up, with a final tHcy concentration of 9.7 micro mol/L (8.8, 10.8). CONCLUSIONS: Increasing natural folate intake improved folate status and decreased tHcy concentrations to an extent that may significantly reduce the risk of vascular disease. Dietary modification may have advantages over folic acid fortification because the altered food-consumption patterns lead to increased intakes of several vitamins and minerals and decreased intakes of saturated fatty acids.