Folate and asthma.Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Jul 01; 188(1):12-7.AJ
Findings from experimental studies and animal models led to the hypothesis that folic acid supplementation during pregnancy confers an increased risk of asthma. This review provides a critical examination of current experimental and epidemiologic evidence of a causal association between folate status and asthma. In industrialized nations, the prevalence of asthma was rising before widespread fortification of foodstuffs with folic acid or folate supplementation before or during pregnancy, thus suggesting that changes in folate status are an unlikely explanation for "the asthma epidemic." Consistent with this ecologic observation, evidence from human studies does not support moderate or strong effects of folate status on asthma. Given known protective effects against neural tube and cardiac defects, there is no reason to alter current recommendations for folic acid supplementation during conception or pregnancy based on findings for folate and asthma. Although we believe that there are inadequate data to exclude a weak effect of maternal folate status on asthma or asthma symptoms, such effects could be examined within the context of very large (and ongoing) birth cohort studies. At this time, there is no justification for funding new studies of folate and asthma.