Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Folate bioavailability

  • Helene McNulty (a1) and Kristina Pentieva (a1)
Abstract

The achievement of optimal folate status to prevent neural-tube defects, and possibly other diseases, is hindered by the well-recognised incomplete bioavailability of the natural folates found in foods compared with the synthetic vitamin, folic acid. Folate bioavailability from different foods is considered to be dependent on a number of factors, including the food matrix, the intestinal deconjugation of polyglutamyl folates, the instability of certain labile folates during digestion and the presence of certain dietary constituents that may enhance folate stability during digestion. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the extent of conjugation of polyglutamyl folate (in the absence of specific inhibitors of deconjugation in certain foods) is a limiting factor in folate bioavailability. Estimates of the extent of lower bioavailability of food folates compared with folic acid (relative bioavailability) show great variation, ranging anywhere between 10 and 98%, depending on the methodological approach used. The lack of accurate data on folate bioavailability from natural food sources is of particular concern in those countries in which there is no mandatory folic acid fortification, and therefore a greater reliance on natural food folates as a means to optimise status. Apart from the incomplete bioavailability of food folates, the poor stability of folates in foods (particularly green vegetables) under typical conditions of cooking can substantially reduce the amount of vitamin ingested and thereby be an additional factor limiting the ability of food folates to enhance folate status. A recent workshop convened by the Food Standards Agency concluded that gaining a better understanding of folate bioavailability in representative human diets is a high priority for future research.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Folate bioavailability
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Folate bioavailability
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Folate bioavailability
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor Helene McNulty, fax +44 28 7032 4965, email h.mcnulty@ulster.ac.uk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

PAL Ashfield-Watt , JM Whiting , ZE Clark , SJ Moat , RG Newcombe , ML Burr & IFW McDowell (2003) A comparison of the effect of advice to eat either ‘5-a-day’ fruit and vegetables or folic acid-fortified foods on plasma folate and homocysteine. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57, 316323.

H Baker , SP Jaslow & O Frank (1978) Severe impairment of dietary folate utilization in the elderly. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 26, 218221.

JJM Castenmiller , de Poll van , West CJ , Brouwer CE , Thomas IA , van Dusseldorp M CMG (2000) Bioavailability of folate from processed spinach in humans. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 44, 163169.

GJ Cuskelly , H McNulty & JM Scott (1996) Effect of increasing dietary folate on red-cell folate: Implications for prevention of neural tube defects. Lancet 347, 657659.

AE Czeizel & I Dudas (1992) Prevention of first occurrence of neural tube defects by periconceptional vitamin supplementation. New England Journal of Medicine 327, 18321835.

J Dang , J Arcot & A Shrestha (2000) Folate retention in selected processed legumes. Food Chemistry 68, 295298.

AM Devlin , E Ling , JM Peerson , S Fernando , R Clarke , AD Smith & CH Halsted (2000) Glutamate carboxypeptidase II: a polymorphism associated with lower levels of serum folate and hyperhomocysteinemia. Human Molecular Genetics 9, 28372844.

JF Gregory (1990) Improved synthesis of [3‘, 5’–2H2] folic acid: extent and specificity of deuterium labelling. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 38, 10731076.

JF Gregory & EP Quinlivan (2002) In vivo kinetics of folate metabolism. Annual Review of Nutrition 22, 199220.

KJA Lievers , LAJ Kluijtmans , GHJ Boers , P Verhoef , Heijer den , Trijbels M , Blom HJ FJM (2002) Influence of glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) polymorphism (1561C→T) on plasma homocysteine, folate and vitamin B 12 levels and its relationship to cardiovascular disease risk. Atherosclerosis 164, 269273.

M Murphy , M Keating , P Boyle , DG Weir & JM Scott (1976) The elucidation of the mechanism of folate catabolism in the rat. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 71, 10171024.

J Perry & I Chanarin (1970) Intestinal absorption of reduced folate compounds in man. British Journal of Haematology 18, 329339.

K Pietrzik & T Remer (1989) Zur Bioverfugbarkeitsprufung von Mikronahrstoffen (Bioavailability study of micronutrients). Zeitschrift fur Ernahrungawissenschaft 28, 130141.

S Seshadri , A Beiser , J Selhub , PF Jacques , IH Rosenberg , RB D'Agostino , PWF Wison & PA Wolf (2002) Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. New England Journal of Medicine 346, 476483.

T Tamura , Y Mizuno , KE Johnston & RA Jacob (1997) Food folate assay with protease, α-amylase and folate conjugase treatments. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 45, 135139.

T Tamura , YS Shin , KU Buehring & ELR Stokstad (1976) The availability of folate in man: Effect of orange juice supplement on intestinal conjugase. British Journal of Haematology 32, 123133.

T Tamura & ELR Stokstad (1973) The availability of food folate in man. British Journal of Haematology 25, 513532.

DS Wald , M Law & JK Morris (2002) Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: evidence on causality from a meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 325, 17.

MM Wei & JF Gregory (1998) Organic acids in selected foods inhibit intestinal brush border pteroylpolyglutamate hydrolase in vitro: potential mechanism affecting the bioavailability of dietary polyglutamyl folate. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 46, 211219.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: