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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


LORIA-KOHEN, Viviana et al. A pilot study of folic acid supplementation for improving homocysteine levels, cognitive and depressive status in eating disorders. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2013, vol.28, n.3, pp.807-815. ISSN 1699-5198.

Background & aims: Several authors have reported low folate intake in patients with eating disorders (ED). This vitamin plays an essential role in synthesis reactions for neurotransmitters and structural elements of neurons, and therefore its deficiency has been associated with the presence of different disorders linked to mental function. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of folic acid supplementation on homocysteine levels and the cognitive and depressive status of a group of patients with eating disorders with low folate intake. Subjects/methods: The study was designed as a randomised, prospective clinical trial, which included 24 participants assigned to two treatment groups for six months: supplemented group (SG) (10 mg/day of folic acid [ACFOL®]) and a placebo group (PG). Both groups maintained their medical, dietary and psychological treatment. At baseline and end of the intervention, anthropometric, dietary and biochemical parameters (plasma homocysteine [Hcy], serum and red blood cell folate) were recorded. Cognitive and depressive status questionnaires were administered (Stroop Test, Trail Making Test and Beck Depression Inventory). Results: Twenty-two patients completed the study (SG: 12, PG: 10, mean age: 24.2 ± 8.8 years, BMI 18, ± 3.5 kg/m2). The SG significantly increased their serum and red blood cell folate levels and lowered Hcy levels (9.4 ± 2.4 µmol/l vs. 7.5 ± 1.7 µmol/l, P < 0.01). The SG also significantly improved most of their test scores for cognitive and depressive status. The PG showed no significant changes in any of the evaluated variables. Conclusions: The results show that folic acid supplementation may be used as another tool within the comprehensive and multidisciplinary treatment applied to patients with ED.

Keywords : Folate; Cognitive function; Eating disorders; Depression; Homocysteine.

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