Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Possible Correlation of Folate Derived From Supplements in Pregnancy and Allergic Outcomes in Early Childhood


In this study, researchers investigated the relationships between maternal folate status in pregnancy, cord blood folate levels, and allergic outcomes in early childhood. Pregnant women (n = 628) were recruited in the last trimester of pregnancy. Folate status determined by questionnaires and folate levels in maternal and cord blood serum were examined in relation to infant allergic outcomes at 1 year of age (n = 484). Results showed that infants who developed allergic disease did not show any differences in cord blood or maternal folate levels in comparison. Maternal folate intake from foods was also not different, folate derived from supplements was higher (P = 0.017) in children with subsequent eczema. Infants exposed to >500 mg folic acid/day as a supplement in utero were more likely to develop eczema than those taking <200 mg/day (OR [odds ratio] = 1.85; 95% CI 1.14-3.02; P = 0.013), remaining significant after adjustment for maternal allergy and other confounders. There was a nonlinear relationship between cord blood folate and sensitization. Researchers conclude that fetal levels between 50 and 75 nmol/l appeared optimal for minimizing sensitization. While folate taken as a supplement in higher doses during the third trimester might be associated with eczema, there was no effect on other allergic outcomes including sensitization. Additional research is needed.

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