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Folate and iron status of non-anemic women during pregnancy: Effect of routine folate and iron supplementation and relation of erythrocyte folate with iron stores



Folate and iron status of non-anemic women during pregnancy: Effect of routine folate and iron supplementation and relation of erythrocyte folate with iron stores



Nutrition Research 16(8): 1267-1276



The possible benefits of routine iron (80-160 mg/d) and combined folate (2-4 mg/d) and iron (80-160 mg/d) supplementation during pregnancy on both nutrient status and the relation of folate indices with iron stores were evaluated in a cohort of non-aneraic healthy pregnant women (n=74). Mean levels of plasma and erythrocyte folate were adequate, did not decrease during pregnancy and further improved with the use of folate supplements, with long lasting effects up to 2-3 months post partum. Exclusive iron supplementation did not affect folate indices. Although mean plasma ferritin levels were adequate throughout the study, they decreased during pregnancy and the frequency of depleted iron reserves (plasma ferritin lt 12 mu-g/l) increased regardless the use of iron supplements. However, iron supplementation was effective in maintaining adequate circulating plasma iron during pregnancy and was possibly beneficial for the recovery of iron stores post partum. Plasma ferritin and erythrocyte folate levels were correlated in the second and third trimesters but not in the first trimester or in the post partum. The women with iron depleted reserves in the third trimester, either supplemented or not with folate, presented lower erythrocyte folate levels than the non-depleted women in this period, in spite of a similar dietary folate intake. Also, erythrocyte folate levels in the women with depleted iron reserves tended to be less responsive to folate supplementation and, in the case of no folate supplementation, showed a decrease in comparison with the beginning of pregnancy. Our results suggest that a relation between erythrocyte folate and iron stores might occur in periods of high simultaneous demand for both nutrients and increased erythropoiesis such as pregnancy.

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Accession: 008696190

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DOI: 10.1016/0271-5317(96)00136-4


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