Effects of folic acid supplementation on serum folate and plasma homocysteine concentrations in older adults: A dose-response trial

Cheryl A.M. Anderson, Sun Ha Jee, Jeanne Charleston, Matthew Narrett, Lawrence J. Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The authors' objective in this study was to estimate the changes in serum folate and homocysteine concentration that resulted from 6 weeks of supplementation with folic acid. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response trial with a parallel-group design was conducted. A total of 133 participants aged 60-90 years (70% female, 19% nonwhite) were assigned to receive 0, 100, 400, 1,000, or 2,000 μg/day of folic acid for 6 weeks. Data were collected in the United States between June and September 1996. At baseline, median serum folate and plasma homocysteine concentrations were 5.7 ng/mL (interquartile range (25th-75th percentiles), 4.1-7.8) and 8.3 μmol/L (interquartile range, 7.1-10.0), respectively. As the folic acid dose increased, serum folate levels increased (P-trend < 0.001). There was no dose-response relation with homocysteine level among all participants. In analyses restricted to persons with the lowest serum folate concentration (<4.5 ng/mL) at baseline, there was a trend (P = 0.06) toward decreased homocysteine levels with increasing folic acid dose. In healthy, older adults with adequate folate status, folic acid supplementation is not beneficial for homocysteine reduction. However, for older adults with low serum folate levels, supplementation will improve folate status and may be beneficial for lowering homocysteine concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-941
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume172
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2010

Keywords

  • adult
  • dietary supplements
  • folic acid
  • homocysteine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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