Conflicting reports over folate levels and asthma/allergy - it appears to be both beneficial and harmful...


Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center examined the blood folate levels of more than 8,000 people with and without asthma and allergies who were enrolled in a large, national health registry.

They found that those with the lowest serum folate levels were 31% more likely to have test-verified allergy and 40% more likely to have wheeze than people with the highest levels. They also found them 16% more likely to have diagnosed asthma, although the asthma finding wasn't statistically significant.

Pediatric allergist and study researcher Elizabeth Matsui said that the relationship appeared to be dose-dependent, meaning that the people with the highest blood folate levels had the lowest incidence of wheeze and allergies and the people with the lowest folate levels had the highest incidence.

However, last October, Duke University researchers reported that mice exposed to high levels of folate prior to birth had an increased risk for allergic disease early in life.

The researchers suggested that the dramatic increase in asthma over the last two decades may be at least partly related to efforts to increase supplementation among pregnant women.

Clearly, more resaerch is needed in this area...

Read more

And see the LA Times for a further review of the debate.

First Published in May 2009


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