Folate-containing prenatal supplements are commonly consumed in the United States, but inconsistencies in units of measure and chemical forms pose challenges for providing authoritative advice on recommended amounts. New regulations require folate to be declared as micrograms of dietary folate equivalents (DFE) on product labels, whereas intake recommendations for reducing the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) and the Tolerable Upper Intake Level are expressed as micrograms of folic acid. Today, >25% of prenatal supplements contain folate as synthetic salts of L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), but recommendations do not include this form of the vitamin. Harmonizing units of measure and addressing newer forms of folate salts in intake recommendations and in the prevention of NTDs would resolve the confusion.
Keywords: DRIs; L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate; folate; folate Daily Values; folate labeling; folate recommendations; prenatal supplements.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2020.