Folic Acid Supplementation Improves Glycemic Control for Diabetes Prevention and Management: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Nutrients. 2021 Jul 09; 13(7)N
There is a growing interest in the considerable benefits of dietary supplementations, such as folic acid, on the glycemic profile. We aimed to investigate the effects of folic acid supplementation on glycemic control markers in adults.
Randomized controlled trials examining the effects of folic acid supplementation on glycemic control markers published up to March 2021 were detected by searching online databases, including Scopus, PubMed, Embase, and ISI web of science, using a combination of related keywords. Mean change and standard deviation (SD) of the outcome measures were used to estimate the mean difference between the intervention and control groups at follow-up. Meta-regression and non-linear dose-response analysis were conducted to evaluate the association between pooled effect size and folic acid dosage (mg/day) and duration of the intervention (week). From 1814 detected studies, twenty-four studies reported fasting blood glucose (FBG), fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), and Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) as an outcome measure.
Results revealed significant reductions in FBG (weighted mean difference (WMD): -2.17 mg/dL, 95% CI: -3.69, -0.65, p = 0.005), fasting insulin (WMD: -1.63 pmol/L, 95% CI: -2.53, -0.73, p < 0.001), and HOMA-IR (WMD: -0.40, 95% CI: -0.70, -0.09, p = 0.011) following folic acid supplementation. No significant effect was detected for HbA1C (WMD: -0.27%, 95% CI: -0.73, 0.18, p = 0.246). The dose-response analysis showed that folic acid supplementation significantly changed HOMA-IR (r = -1.30, p-nonlinearity = 0.045) in non-linear fashion. However, meta-regression analysis did not indicate a linear relationship between dose, duration, and absolute changes in FBG, HOMA-IR, and fasting insulin concentrations.
Folic acid supplementation significantly reduces some markers of glycemic control in adults. These reductions were small, which may limit clinical applications for adults with type II diabetes. Further research is necessary to confirm our findings.