Folic acid fortified milk increases blood folate and lowers homocysteine concentration in women of childbearing age.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005; 14(2):173-8.AP
Daily consumption of 400 microg folic acid prior to conception and during early pregnancy is recommended for the prevention of neural tube defects (NTD). Strategies to increase folic acid consumption include supplements and fortified foods. Milk is consumed by women and can be fortified with folic acid but little is known about the effect of fortified milk on blood folate concentration in women of childbearing age. The objective of this study was to determine whether daily consumption of milk fortified with 375 microg folic acid increases blood folate and lowers homocysteine concentrations in women of childbearing age. Seventy-three non-pregnant women (aged 18-47 y) were randomized to receive either 75 g/d of a fortified or unfortified (control) milk powder for 12 weeks. Women who consumed the folic acid fortified milk had mean (95% CI) red blood cell and plasma folate concentrations that were 539 nmol/L (436, 641) and 35 nmol/L (30, 41) higher, respectively, than in the control group. Women drinking fortified milk had a 14% lower mean plasma homocysteine concentration at week 12 than women consuming the control milk. Daily consumption of fortified milk powder providing 375 microg folic acid increases blood folate and lowers homocysteine concentrations over 12 weeks in women of childbearing age. Daily consumption of fortified milk would be expected to reduce NTD risk.