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Research goals for folate and related B vitamin in Europe

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Author: Finglas, P.M. · Meer, K. de · Molloy, A. · Verhoef, P. · Pietrzik, K. · Powers, H.J. · Straeten, D. van der · Jägerstad, M. · Varela-Moreiras, G. · Vliet, T. van · Havenaar, R. · Buttriss, J. · Wright, A.J.A.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2, 60, 287-294
Identifier: 239120
doi: doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602315
Keywords: Nutrition · Biomedical Research · Cancer · Folate · Food · Fortification · Homocysteine · Neural tube defect · cyanocobalamin · folic acid · vitamin B group · article · bioavailability · cancer prevention · cardiovascular disease · cardiovascular risk · clinical trial · colorectal cancer · cost benefit analysis · cyanocobalamin deficiency · diabetes mellitus · diet supplementation · dietary intake · disease association · elderly care · enzyme polymorphism · feasibility study · food analysis · food biotechnology · food composition · gene interaction · health hazard · high risk population · human · hyperhomocysteinemia · hyperlipidemia · hypertension · in vivo study · malabsorption · morbidity · neural tube defect · nutritional status · nutritional value · osteoporosis · patient compliance · pregnancy · prevalence · quantitative analysis · risk assessment · risk factor · risk reduction · smoking · stomach pH · uterine cervix cancer · vitamin metabolism · vitamin supplementation · Biological Availability · Folic Acid · Food Technology · Food, Fortified · Humans · Hyperhomocysteinemia · Intestinal Absorption · Neural Tube Defects · Vitamin B 12 · Vitamin B Complex


In the past decade, the understanding of folate bioavailability, metabolism and related health issues has increased, but several problems remain, including the difficulty of delivering the available knowledge to the populations at risk. Owing to the low compliance of taking folic acid supplements, for example, among women of child-bearing age who could lower the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, food-based strategies aimed at increasing the intake of folate and other B-group vitamins should be a priority for future research. These should include the development of a combined strategy of supplemental folate (possibly with vitamin B12), biofortification using engineered plant-derived foods and micro-organisms and food fortification for increasing folate intakes in the general population. Currently, the most effective population-based strategy to reduce NTDs remains folic acid fortification. However, the possible adverse effect of high intakes of folic acid on neurologic functioning among elderly persons with vitamin B12 deficiency needs urgent investigation. The results of ongoing randomized controlled studies aimed at reducing the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia and related morbidity must be available before food-based total population approaches for treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia can be recommended. Further research is required on quantitative assessment of folate intake and bioavailability, along with a more thorough understanding of physiological, biochemical and genetic processes involved in folate absorption and metabolism. © 2006 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.