Folic acid supplements are regularly recommended to prevent Neural Tube Defects and to reduce levels of Homocysteine. Blood levels of Folic Acid reflect recent dietary intake measured directly by Red Cell Folate and indirectly by measuring Homocysteine.
This hot off the press randomised controlled trial in a chinese female population looked at whether the 677C>T SNP on the MethylTetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene affected response to Folic acid supplementation during the supplementation period and 3 months after discontinuation.
The results showed that individuals with the MTHFR TT genotype did not respond to the supplementation even when levels up to 4000µg/wk were given with resulting lower folate and higher Homocysteine levels.
The prevalence of the MTHFR genotype is approximately 11% in the Asian population. Newer studies have questioned the use of synthetic folic acid supplements and advocated the use of methyl folate which is the bioavailable form of Folate in fruits and vegetables. Could this possibly influence the results of the above study? hopefully future studies will reveal this….