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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


MARTINEZ-DE VILLARREAL, Laura E. et al. The effect of weekly administration of folic acid on folic blood levels. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2001, vol.43, n.2, pp.103-107. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of weekly administration of 5 mg. folic acid (FA) intake on folic acid blood levels. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This concurrent comparative study was conducted in 1998, in urban and rural areas of Nuevo Leon State, Mexico. The study population consisted of 74 women who delivered a child during 1997, 39 of whom had a child with a neural tube defect. Women were given 5 mg. of folic acid, weekly for 3 months. Blood levels of folic acid were determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA) at baseline, and a week after taking the last folic acid dose. Data are presented as means and standard deviations. RESULTS: Ninety per cent of the women had significantly increased folic acid intraerythrocytary blood levels. Red cell folate increased from 150.49 ± 31.17 ng/ml to 184.21 ± 35.53 ng/ml (p<0.005). Plasma folate increased from 5.93 ± 1.98 ng/ml a 7.03 ± 2.5 ng/ml (p<0.05). Eighty-two per cent of women reached intracellular levels above 160 ng/ml. CONCLUSIONS: The weekly administration of folic acid is a simple and efficient method that could be used to supplement this vitamin to low-income populations.The English version of this paper is available at:

Keywords : folic acid; neural tube defects [prevention & control]; Mexico.

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