Folate requirements during pregnancy

Dietary reference intakes (DRIs) are recommendations for nutrient intakes used to plan and assess the adequacy of diets for healthy people [7]. The DRIs include a number of reference values including Estimated Average Requirement, Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake, and Tolerable Upper Intake Level. For the purposes of planning and assessing a diet for a healthy individual, clinicians should generally utilize the RDA [7]. The RDA for folate for pregnant women is the average daily dietary folate intake that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy pregnant women (97-98%) [8]. New units (Dietary Folate Equivalents, DFEs) were derived to express the folate RDA that account for the higher bioavail-ability of folic acid compared to naturally occurring food folate [7]. When expressed as DFEs, folic acid intake is converted to an amount that is equivalent to food folate. It was estimated that folic acid in fortified foods is ~85% bioavailable and food folate is ~50% bioavailable, which means that folic acid in food is 1.7 times more bioavailable than is folate occurring naturally in food. If a mixture of synthetic folic acid plus food folate is consumed, then the DFE is calculated as follows: DFE = food folate + (1.7 x synthetic folic acid). For example, a meal that contains 100 micrograms (mcg) of folate from orange juice and 100 mcg of folic acid from fortified cereal would contain a total of 270 mcg DFE (100 mcg from orange juice + [100 mcg folic acid x 1.7]).

The current folate DRIs for pregnant women were based on data from a controlled metabolic study and a series of population-based studies in which dietary folate intake was reported [7].

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Responses

  • peter
    What is Folate/DFE mcg nutrition pregnancy?
    8 years ago

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