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Lancet. 1993 Jan 16;341(8838):148-9.

Accelerated folate breakdown in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Medical School, St James' Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


During pregnancy there is an increased requirement for folate. We studied pregnant women to determine whether the increased requirement might be due to enhanced catabolism of the vitamin. Six normal pregnant women provided 24 h urine samples during each trimester and postpartum while taking a defined diet. The urines were assayed for the folate breakdown products p-amino-benzoylglutamate (pABGlu) and its acetylated derivative p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate (apBGlu) by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Mean concentration of excreted apABGlu rose significantly in the second trimester but returned to baseline postpartum. This increased rate of folate catabolism produces an extra demand for dietary folate of about 200-300 micrograms per day in pregnant women, a considerably greater value than recent recommendations.

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