• Title, Summary, Keyword: mandatory folic acid fortification

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Contemporary Issues Surrounding Folic Acid Fortification Initiatives

  • Choi, Jeong-Hwa;Yates, Zoe;Veysey, Martin;Heo, Young-Ran;Lucock, Mark
    • Preventive Nutrition and Food Science
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    • v.19 no.4
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    • pp.247-260
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    • 2014
  • The impact of folate on health and disease, particularly pregnancy complications and congenital malformations, has been extensively studied. Mandatory folic acid fortification therefore has been implemented in multiple countries, resulting in a reduction in the occurrence of neural tube defects. However, emerging evidence suggests increased folate intake may also be associated with unexpected adverse effects. This literature review focuses on contemporary issues of concern, and possible underlying mechanisms as well as giving consideration the future direction of mandatory folic acid fortification. Folate fortification has been associated with the presence of unmetabolized folic acid (PteGlu) in blood, masking of vitamin $B_{12}$ deficiency, increased dosage for anti-cancer medication, photo-catalysis of PteGlu leading to potential genotoxicity, and a role in the pathoaetiology of colorectal cancer. Increased folate intake has also been associated with twin birth and insulin resistance in offspring, and altered epigenetic mechanisms of inheritance. Although limited data exists to elucidate potential mechanisms underlying these issues, elevated blood folate level due to the excess use of PteGlu without consideration of an individual's specific phenotypic traits (e.g. genetic background and undiagnosed disease) may be relevant. Additionally, the accumulation of unmetabolized PteGlu may lead to inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase and other enzymes. Concerns notwithstanding, folic acid fortification has achieved enormous advances in public health. It therefore seems prudent to target and carefully monitor high risk groups, and to conduct well focused further research to better understand and to minimize any risk of mandatory folic acid fortification.

Elevated folic acid results in contrasting cancer cell line growth with implications for mandatory folic acid fortification

  • Yates, Zoe;Lucock, Mark;Veysey, Martin;Choi, Jeong-hwa
    • Journal of Nutrition and Health
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    • v.49 no.2
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    • pp.72-79
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    • 2016
  • Purpose: The initiation of mandatory folic acid fortification using pteroylmonoglutamic acid (PteGlu) has reduced the rate of congenital malformations. However, it also appears to be responsible for several adverse effects, including increased cancer incidence. This may be related to physicho-chemical characteristics of PteGlu. This study examines the potential effect of high concentrations of PteGlu on a population subjected to mandatory folic acid fortification using an in vitro model. Methods: Caco-2 (colorectal cancer) and MCF7 (breast cancer) cell lines were cultured at 6 different PteGlu concentrations (0, 0.1, 1, 50, 250, and $500{\mu}g/ml$) for 6 days. Cell growth was determined using thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide assay. The genotype of dihydrofolate reductase 19bp deletion/insertion (DHFR 19-del) was also scored in cell lines using a restriction fragment length polymorphism technique to examine whether genetic variations may factor in cell proliferation. Results: PteGlu exhibited differential growth promoting properties between cell lines. Caco-2 cells did not show a significant growth difference at low concentrations compared to control, however, at higher concentrations, the growth showed a contrasting trend in the early experimental period, while MCF7 showed enhanced cell growth at all concentrations. The DHFR 19-del genotype differed in the two cell lines. Conclusions: Altered response to PteGlu by Caco-2 and MCF7 may reflect a tissue specific disease aetiology or genotype specific differential enzyme activity, for example by DHFR, to critical levels of PteGlu. As folic acid fortification is a blanket intervention, and DHFR and other enzyme activities vary between individuals, PteGlu intake may have an as yet undefined effect on health. These findings may be relevant when considering mandatory folic acid fortification for disease prevention.