• Article

Folate status of elderly women following moderate folate depletion responds only to a higher folate intake


Kauwell, G. P., Lippert, B. L., Wilsky, C. E., Herrlinger-Garcia, K., Hutson, A. D., Theriaque, D. W., ... Bailey, L. B. (2000). Folate status of elderly women following moderate folate depletion responds only to a higher folate intake. Journal of Nutrition, 130(6), 1584-1590.


Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for folate for elderly women have been based primarily on data extrapolated from studies in younger women. This study was conducted to provide the first age-specific data in elderly women (60-85 y) from a controlled metabolic study on which to base folate intake recommendations. Subjects (n = 33) consumed a moderately folate-deplete (118 microg/d) diet for 7 wk, followed by repletion diets providing either 200 or 415 microg folate/d as diet plus folic acid (FA) or a combination of FA and orange juice (OJ) for 7 wk (n = 30). Comparisons among and within groups were made for serum folate (SF), RBC folate and plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations. SF concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.001) during depletion (65 +/- 15%). Postrepletion, the adjusted SF concentration for subjects consuming 415 microg folate/d was significantly greater (P = 0.003) than for subjects consuming 200 microg folate/d. RBC folate concentrations decreased (P < 0.001) during depletion (21 +/- 10%) and further (P < 0.001) during repletion (5 +/- 14%). During depletion, plasma tHcy concentrations increased significantly (P < 0.001) and an inverse relationship between SF and plasma tHcy concentrations was observed in 94% of subjects (P < 0.001). Reversal of this inverse relationship was significant only for subjects consuming 415 microg folate/d (P < 0.001). Postrepletion, subjects consuming 200 microg folate/d had a significantly higher (P = 0.009) adjusted plasma tHcy concentration than subjects consuming 415 microg folate/d. These data in elderly women indicate that 415 microg/d folate, provided as a combination of diet, FA and OJ, or diet and FA, normalizes folate status more effectively than does 200 microg/d, thus providing age-specific data for future folate intake recommendations.