Folate intake and folate serum levels in men and women from two European populations: The IMMIDIET project

George Pounis, Augusto F. Di Castelnuovo, Michel de Lorgeril, Vittorio Krogh, Alfonso Siani, Jozef Arnout, Francesco P. Cappuccio, Martien van Dongen, Bruno Zappacosta, Maria Benedetta Donati, Giovanni de Gaetano, Licia Iacoviello, Jef Arnout, Frank Buntinx, Pieter C. Dagnelie, Michel de Lorgeril, Alfonso Sian, Carla Dirckxc, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Martien van DongenAmerico Bonanni, Pit Rink, Branislav Vohnout, Francesco Zito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Folate status has been associated with neural tube defects and cerebrovascular disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate possible differences in folate status in two European Union countries and to assess their possible association with dietary patterns and/or other lifestyles. Methods: In the framework of the European Union-funded IMMIDIET Project, 1068 individuals (534 male-female pairs), ages 26 to 64 y, were enrolled in Italy and the United Kingdom. One-year-recall food frequency questionnaire was used to evaluate dietary intake. Reduced rank regression analysis was used to derive a dietary pattern better describing high dietary folate intake. Results: Of the total participants, 11.3% of the Italians and 45.1% of the British exceeded the optimal dietary folate intake of 400 μg/d (Recommended Dietary Allowance). Of the women, 66.7% and 22.1% of Italian and British women, respectively, all at childbearing age, had folate serum levels 0; P <0.001): 100 μg/d increase in dietary folate intake was associated with 13.8% and 10.5% increase in folate serum levels in the Italian and British population, respectively (for 100 μg/d increase eβ-coef = 1.138 and 1.105; P <0.001). Smoking habit was negatively but physical activity positively associated with folate serum levels (P <0.05). Conclusions: An inadequate dietary folate intake and subsequent serum levels were observed in the Italian participants. High consumption of food sources of folate was positively associated with folate serum levels, explaining a good proportion of its variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-830
Number of pages9
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diet
  • Dietary patterns
  • Folate
  • Folate status
  • Neurovascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine(all)


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