Folate intake at RDA levels is inadequate for Mexican American men with the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677TT genotype

J Nutr. 2008 Jan;138(1):67-72. doi: 10.1093/jn/138.1.67.


Since the establishment of the 1998 folate recommended dietary allowance (RDA), the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C-->T variant has emerged as a strong modifier of folate status. This controlled feeding study investigated the adequacy of the RDA, 400 microg/d as dietary folate equivalents (DFE), for Mexican American men with the MTHFR 677CC or TT genotype. Because of the interdependency between folate and choline, the influence of choline intake on folate status was also assessed. Mexican American men (n = 60; 18-55 y) with the MTHFR 677CC (n = 31) or TT (n = 29) genotype consumed 438 microg DFE/d and total choline intakes of 300, 550 (choline adequate intake), 1100, or 2200 mg/d for 12 wk. Folate status response was assessed via serum folate (SF), RBC folate, plasma total homocysteine (tHcy), and urinary folate. SF decreased (P < 0.001) 66% to 7.9 +/- 0.7 nmol/L (means +/- SEM) in men with the 677TT genotype and 62% to 11.3 +/- 0.9 nmol/L in the 677CC genotype. Plasma tHcy increased (P < 0.0001) 170% to 31 +/- 3 micromol/L in men with the 677TT genotype and 18% to 11.6 +/- 0.3 micromol/L in the 677CC genotype. At the end of the study, 34% (677TT) and 16% (677CC) had SF concentrations <6.8 nmol/L and 79% (677TT) and 7% (677CC) had tHcy concentrations >14 micromol/L. Choline intake did not influence the response of the measured variables. These data showed that the folate RDA is not adequate for men of Mexican descent, particularly for those with the MTHFR 677TT genotype, and demonstrated a lack of influence of choline intake on the folate status variables measured in this study.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Choline / pharmacology
  • Diet
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2) / genetics*
  • Mexican Americans / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B Complex / pharmacology


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)
  • Choline