Folic acid fortifi cation and women's folate levels in selected communities in Brazil - A first look

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Chakraborty, Hrishikesh
Nyarko, Kwame A.
Goco, Norman
Moore, Janet
Moretti-Ferreira, Danilo [UNESP]
Murray, Jeffrey C.
Wehby, George L.
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Background: Several countries have implemented mandatory folic acid fortifi cation of wheat flour and selected grain products to increase the folate intake of reproductive-aged women. Brazil implemented a folic acid fortifi cation program in 2004. No previous studies have examined folate differences among Brazilian women following the mandate. Objective: We evaluate differences in serum and red blood cell (RBC) folate concentrations between two samples of women of childbearing age from selective communities in Brazil, one tested before (N = 116) and the other after the mandate (N = 240). Methods: We compared the baseline folate levels of women enrolled in a prevention study shortly before the fortifi cation mandate was implemented, to baseline levels of women from the same communities enrolled in the same study shortly after fortifi cation began. The participants were women enrolled in a folate supplementation clinical trial, at a hospital specializing in treating craniofacial anomalies in the city of Bauru from January 29, 2004 to April 27, 2005. We only compared baseline folate levels before the women received oral cleft prevention program (OCPP) folic acid supplements. Results: Women enrolled after the fortifi cation mandate had higher means of serum folate (20.3 versus 11.2 nmol/L; p < 0.001) and RBC folate (368.3 versus 177.6 nmol/L; p < 0.001) than women enrolled before the mandate. Differences in folate levels between the two groups remained after adjusting for several co-variables. Conclusions: The results suggest that serum and RBC folate levels among women of childbearing age increased after implementing the folic acid fortifi cation mandate in Brazil.
Brazil, Congenital anomalies, Folate, Folic acid, Neural tube defects
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International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, v. 84, n. 5-6, p. 286-294, 2014.