UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Fluids and Secretions | Nutrition


Since 1998, the U.S. has mandated folic acid (FA) fortification of certain grain products to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Folate intake and red blood cell (RBC) folate concentrations increased substantially post-intervention, although recent studies raise concerns about the level of ongoing benefit. This study investigated blood folate level determinants in healthy young adults, including intake of naturally occurring food folate, synthetic FA, and the interaction of naturally occurring food folate with a common missense variant in the FOLH1 gene thought to affect absorption. Participants (n = 265) completed the Diet History Questionnaire II, RBC folate testing, and were genotyped for the 484T > C FOLH1 variant. Men reported significantly greater intake of all folate sources except for supplemental FA, but RBC folate levels did not significantly differ by sex. Synthetic FA was a stronger predictor of RBC folate than naturally occurring food folate. In the largest racial group, synthetic FA and the interaction of FOLH1 genotype with naturally occurring food folate significantly predicted RBC folate, with the overall model accounting for 13.8% of the variance in RBC folate levels. Blood folate levels rely on a complex interaction of natural and synthetic folate intake as well as FOLH1 genotype.


FOLH1, RBC folate, dietary folate, folic acid

Rights and Permissions

© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

DOI of Published Version



Nutrients. 2017 Sep 8;9(9). pii: nu9090994. doi: 10.3390/nu9090994. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.