[Folate and Pregnancy, current concepts: It is required folic acid supplementation?]

Rev Chil Pediatr. 2017 Apr;88(2):199-206. doi: 10.4067/S0370-41062017000200001.
[Article in Spanish]


Folate intake during pregnancy is essential for an adequate fetal and placental development and for the long time health of the individual. Its deficiency may induce fetal pathologies, including neural tube disease (NTD). Therefore, several countries implemented public policies to fortify foods with folic acid (FA). Chile started the fortification of wheat flour with FA in the year 2000, decreasing a 43% the prevalence of NTD. However, despite the high consumption of bread (the main fortified food with FA) by our population, a high number of pregnant women consume FA supplements, thus, over passing the maximal recommended FA intake. Additionally, if the diet is reduced in vitamin B12, the optimal ratio folates/vit B12 may be altered, thus inducing changes in the methylation of specific genes and other metabolic pathways, affecting fetal development and the long-term health of the neonates. We think that, after 16 years of the initiation of the fortification of wheat flour with FA, it is necessary to evaluate the possible side effects of a high intake of FA in the pregnant population and their offspring. This article shows antecedents about mechanisms of folates and vit B12 at cellular level, and their possible consequences of an elevated FA maternal intake on the offspring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bread
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Triticum / chemistry
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage


  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12