Wednesday, May 6, 2009

High folate levels could help prevent allergic reactions and reduce symptoms

An article published online on April 30, 2009 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology revealed the discovery of researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center of a role for the B vitamin folate in lessening allergy and asthma symptoms.

Pediatric allergist Elizabeth Matsui, MD, MHS and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 8,083 individuals aged 2 to 85 to obtain information on folate levels and respiratory and allergy symptoms. African-Americans were found to have the lowest levels of folate at 12.0 milligrams per milliliter, a finding that could not be attributed to low income or socioeconomic status.

Compared to subjects whose folate levels were highest at 18 nanograms per milliliter or more, those whose levels were 8 nanograms per milliliter or less were found to have a 30 percent greater risk of having high amounts of immune system markers known as IgE antibodies, which are elevated in allergy. Subjects with low folate levels were also more likely to report allergies, wheezing, or asthma. Those with low levels of folate had a 31 percent greater risk of skin allergies, a 40 percent greater risk of wheezing, and a 16 percent greater risk of asthma compared to those whose folate levels were highest. Continue Reading

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