Dietary Intake and Biomarkers of Folate and Cobalamin Status in Norwegian Preschool Children: The FINS-KIDS Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Nutrition. 2020, 150 (7), 1852–1858 10.1093/jn/nxaa111
Background: Folate and cobalamin (vitamin B-12) are essential for growth and development. However, few populationbased studies have investigated B-vitamin status in children. Objectives: This study aimed to assess biomarkers of folate and vitamin B-12 status and to explore their dietary determinants in healthy Norwegian children. Methods: Using baseline data obtained from a randomized controlled trial on the effect of fish intake on neurodevelopment in children aged 4–6 y, we measured the plasma concentrations of folate, cobalamin, total plasma homocysteine (tHcy), and methylmalonic acid (MMA). Food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) were used to assess dietary intake. We used unadjusted and multiple linear regression models to explore the determinants of biomarker concentrations. Results: The median (IQR) of plasma folate (n = 197) and plasma cobalamin (n = 195) concentrations were 15.2 (12.2– 21.1) nmol/L and 785 (632–905) pmol/L, respectively. Plasma folate concentrations of <10 nmol/L were observed in 13% of the children. No child had a cobalamin concentration <148 pmol/L. Two children were identified with elevated plasma MMA concentrations (>0.26 μmol/L) and 8 children had elevated tHcy concentrations (>6.5 μmol/L). Plasma folate concentration was inversely correlated with tHcy (ρ = −0.24, P < 0.001); we found no correlation between tHcy and cobalamin (ρ = −0.075, P = 0.30). Children who consumed vitamin supplements had 51% higher plasma folate concentrations (P < 0.0001) than those who did not. Consumption of red meat for dinner more than twice a week was associated with 23% lower plasma folate (P < 0.01). No other significant associations between dietary intake and the biomarkers were observed. Conclusions: The Norwegian preschool children from this cohort had adequate vitamin B-12 status. Poor folate status was common and associated with elevated tHcy. The implications of poor folate status during childhood should be a prioritized research question. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT02331667. J Nutr 2020;150:1852–1858.