Dietary sources and intakes of folates and vitamin B12 in the Spanish population: Findings from the ANIBES study

PLoS One. 2017 Dec 15;12(12):e0189230. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189230. eCollection 2017.


Background: Folates and vitamin B12 are key nutrients in one-carbon metabolism and related diseases. Updated and plausible information on population intakes and their major dietary sources is scarce and urgently needed in Spain in order to increase the knowledge that can lead as previous step to prevention by fortification and supplementation policies.

Aims: The present study aims to evaluate main dietary folate and vitamin B12 sources and intakes in the Spanish population.

Materials and methods: Results were derived from the ANIBES cross-sectional study using a nationally representative sample of the Spanish population (9-75 years, n = 2,009).

Results: Food groups with the highest mean proportional contribution to total folate intakes in both males and females were vegetables (21.7-24.9%) and cereals (10.7-11.2%), while meat and meat products (26.4%) and milk and dairy products (27.3%) were for B12. Total median folate and B12 intakes amongst women were 156.3 μg/d and 4.0 μg/d while for men were 163.6 μg/d and 4.5 μg/d, respectively. In all age groups, vitamin intakes were significantly higher in plausible than in non-plausible energy reporters.

Conclusion: A limited number of participants had adequate folate intakes, whereas vitamin B12 intakes were adequate for practically the entire population. There is a clear need for improving folates intake in the Spanish population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status
  • Spain
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12

Grants and funding

The study was financially supported by a grant from Coca-Cola Iberia through an agreement with the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (Fundación Española de la Nutrición (FEN)). The funding sponsor had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis nor interpretation of the data, the writing of the manuscript nor in the decision to publish the results.