Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have Surprisingly High Folate Levels, Study Finds

Date:
January 25, 2009
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Children with newly diagnosed cases of inflammatory bowel disease have higher concentrations of folate in their blood than individuals without IBD, according to a new study. The findings bring into question the previously held theory that patients with IBD are prone to folate -- also known as folic acid -- deficiency.

Children with newly diagnosed cases of inflammatory bowel disease have higher concentrations of folate in their blood than individuals without IBD, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley. The findings bring into question the previously held theory that patients with IBD are prone to folate – also known as folic acid – deficiency.

Related Articles


“This is exciting work that opens the door to additional research into the role of folic acid and its genetic basis in the development of IBD, especially in young patients,” said first author Melvin Heyman, MD, a professor of pediatrics, chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, and director of the Pediatric IBD Program at UCSF Children’s Hospital.

The study appears in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

IBD is a blanket term referring to illnesses that cause chronic inflammation in the intestines, including ulcerative colitis, which manifests itself in the colon, and Crohn’s disease, which can arise anywhere in the intestinal tract, according to Heyman. IBD occurs in children of all ages and can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, bleeding and nutritional deficiencies, he added.

Previous research has shown that adults with IBD tend to have lower folate levels than those without the disease, according to Nina Holland, PhD, a senior author on the paper. A folate deficiency may have multiple causes, such as poor absorption of folate across the intestinal tract, lower dietary intake of the nutrient, and medication interactions, Holland explained.

“However, pediatric IBD appears to be somewhat different from the adult form, and before this study very little was known about folate levels in newly diagnosed children with this disease,” said Holland, who is also a professor of genetics and toxicology at UC Berkeley.

Folate, a form of water-soluble vitamin B, helps produce and maintain new cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. Folate occurs naturally in certain foods, including leafy green vegetables like spinach and turnip greens, citrus fruits and a variety of beans, and is also available as a dietary supplement.

“Folate has extremely important health implications and has actually been shown to prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer and birth defects,” said Holland.

The researchers measured blood folate levels in 78 children—5 to 17 years old – who were recruited from clinics participating in the Pediatric IBD Consortium that is comprised of six primary centers across the U.S. (in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and San Francisco). Of those children, 37 had newly diagnosed, untreated IBD, and 41 served as controls. Both the red blood cell folate concentrations and whole-blood concentrations were compared between the two groups.

The subjects’ blood samples were all processed, analyzed and stored at the Children’s Environmental Health Laboratory at UC Berkeley.

Results indicated that red blood cell folate concentrations were 19.4 percent lower in the controls than in the IBD patients, and whole-blood concentrations were 11.1 percent lower in the controls.

The researchers also compared the dietary intake of folate between the two groups by administering questionnaires that gauged the amount of folate each subject ingested through food and vitamin supplements. It was interesting, they noted, that dietary folate intake was 18.8 percent higher in the controls than in patients with IBD.

“We were surprised to see the IBD patients had significantly higher blood folate concentrations than the controls, even though the latter group appeared to have higher dietary folate intakes,” Heyman said.

The findings may have important clinical implications for treating IBD in children. To date, many clinicians have recommended folate supplementation for all IBD patients. Yet because the study found normal folate concentrations in children with newly diagnosed cases, this recommendation might need to be reconsidered, Heyman explained.

Additional co-authors of the paper were: Elizabeth Garnett of UCSF; Nishat Shaikh and Karen Huen, MPH, of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health; Folashade Jose, MD, of UCSF; Paul Harmatz, MD, of Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland (Calif.); Harland Winter, MD, of MassGeneral Hospital for Children; Robert Baldassano, MD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Stanley Cohen, MD, and Benjamin Gold, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine; Barbara Kirschner, MD, of the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital; George Ferry, MD, of Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine; and Erin Stege of Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland (Calif.).

The study was funded primarily by NIH grants, as well as through private donations to UCSF and the University of Chicago.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heyman et al. Folate concentrations in pediatric patients with newly diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009; 89 (2): 545 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26576

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have Surprisingly High Folate Levels, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152545.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2009, January 25). Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have Surprisingly High Folate Levels, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152545.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have Surprisingly High Folate Levels, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152545.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins