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Med Pregl. 2014 Sep-Oct;67(9-10):313-21.

The question is whether intake of folic acid from diet alone during pregnancy is sufficient.


PREGNANCY AND FOLIC ACID: Pregnancy is the most important period in life of every woman, partially for the number of physiological adaptations she is going through, partially for the expectance of new life. In addition, pregnancy is the "critical window" for development later in childhood, as a period of foetal programming during which nutrition plays one of crucial roles. Despite the general belief that nutrition through pregnancy is adequate and characterized by better nutritional habits, a number of studies do not corroborate this belief. ROLE OF FOLIC ACID: An adequate folate blood level is necessary for normal cell growth, synthesis of several compounds including deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid, proper brain and neurologic functions; it is included in the regulation of homocysteine level, and closely related to the vitamin B12 metabolism. Folate deficiency in pregnancy is related to neural tube defects, other neurological disorders, preterm delivery and low birth weight. FOOD SOURCES: A correlation between folate and the prevention of broad spectrum of chronic diseases has been confirmed. Emerging evidence from the epigenetic studies is now bringing even more light on the level of significance of folic acid. A wide range of plant and animal foods are the natural sources of folate; liver, yeast, mushrooms, and green leafy vegetables being the most significant. Different ways of food preparation influence the folate stability and its bioavailability varies from 25 to 50% from foods, 85% from enriched foods or 100% from supplements.


A great amount of scientific results has led to official recommendations for folic acid supplementation in pregnant women as well as in a number of obligatory or voluntary fortification programmes in order to prevent the folate deficiency on the level of different population groups. Nevertheless, there must be a certain level of precaution for elderly because folate can mask the vitamin B12 deficiency with possible fatal outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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