Higher risk of folate deficiency in summer months


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Researchers have recommended that patients with folate values below 4.0 ng/mL include folate-rich food in their diet during the months when the sun’s impact is higher, or are prescribed fortified food or supplements, to help prevent folate deficiency. It follows the publication of new research that found levels of folate in the body decrease in the months when solar radiation is higher.

Researchers at the University of Malaga in Spain examined data on 118,831 serum folate determinations performed between January 2010 and December 2014 at the Virgen de la Victoria hospital in Malaga. 

They found the risk of folate deficiency was 1.37 times greater in summer than in winter. Overall, folate levels were lower in men than in women. 

They also found folate levels close to 4.0 ng/mL in winter were a predictor of folate deficiency in summer and said a cut-off point of 4.0 ng/mL for winter would help to predict and prevent folate deficiency in summer. 

They highlighted how certain patients are more vulnerable to changes and may benefit from increased folate intake to offset seasonal variation including women planning families, patients with macrocytic anaemia, elderly people and children.

The study is published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology