Justifying the "Folate trap" in folic acid fortification programs

J Perinat Med. 2007;35(3):241-2. doi: 10.1515/JPM.2007.056.


Many countries have now adopted fortification, where folic acid is added to flour and intended to benefit all with rise in blood folate level. During many transformations of folate from one form to another, a proportion is accidentally converted to N(5)-methyl-THF, an inactive metabolite, the so-called "folate trap". Consideration should be given to including B(12) as well as folic acid in any program of supplementation or food fortification to prevent NTDs. This is especially applicable to developing countries like India where the majority of women are vegetarians and have borderline levels of vitamin B(12). Administration of [6S]-5-MTHF is more effective than is folic acid supplementation at improving folate status. Therefore, we urge to reconsider the "folate trap" in folic acid fortification programs.

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*


  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12