International Journal of Medical Sciences

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23 October 2017

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Int J Med Sci 2005; 2(2):58-63. doi:10.7150/ijms.2.58

Research Paper

A folate-rich diet is as effective as folic acid from supplements in decreasing plasma homocysteine concentrations

Xavier Pintó1, M. Antonia Vilaseca2, Susana Balcells3, Rafael Artuch2, Emili Corbella1, José F. Meco1, Ramon Vila4, Ramon Pujol1, Daniel Grinberg3

1. Unitat de Lípids i Arteriosclerosi, Servei de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, IDIBELL, c/Feixa Llarga s/n, 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
2. Unitat de Metabolopaties. Servei de Bioquimica. Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu. Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat. Barcelona. Spain.
3. Departament de Genètica. Facultat de Biologia. Universitat de Barcelona. Avda. Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona. Spain.
4. Servei d'Angiologia i Cirurgia Vascular. Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, IDIBELL, c/Feixa Llarga s/n, 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

Background & Aims: At least 500 μg of folic acid are required daily to treat hyperhomocysteinemia. To reach this amount by dietary changes alone may be difficult because food has a low folic acid content and bioavailability. No studies have compared the effects of similar amounts of additional folate derived from a combination of folate-rich and fortified foods or folic acid from supplements on plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations, which was the aim of this study. Methods: Twenty male patients with hyperhomocysteinemia and coronary artery disease were included in a randomized, crossover intervention trial. Patients were treated daily with a combination of foods containing approximately 500 μg of folate or with one 500 μg capsule of synthetic folic acid over two five-week periods separated by a five-week wash-out period. Results: Plasma folate increased markedly (p<0.001) and plasma tHcy decreased (p<0.001) with both therapies. Folate-rich foods decreased tHcy by 8.6% (95% CI: –15.9 to –1.2) and synthetic folic acid capsules by 8% (95% CI: –13.3 to –2.7). Conclusions: This study shows, for the first time in the literature, that a folate-rich diet is as effective as folic acid capsules in decreasing plasma tHcy concentrations and adds further support to the recommendation of those diets to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: Folate, diet, folic acid, homocysteine.

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How to cite this article:
Pintó X, Vilaseca MA, Balcells S, Artuch R, Corbella E, Meco JF, Vila R, Pujol R, Grinberg D. A folate-rich diet is as effective as folic acid from supplements in decreasing plasma homocysteine concentrations. Int J Med Sci 2005; 2(2):58-63. doi:10.7150/ijms.2.58. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v02p0058.htm