Elevated Maternal Folate Status and Changes in Maternal Prolactin, Placental Lactogen and Placental Growth Hormone Following Folic Acid Food Fortification: Evidence from Two Prospective Pregnancy Cohorts

Tanja Jankovic-Karasoulos, Melanie D. Smith, Shalem Leemaqz, Jessica Williamson, Dylan McCullough, Anya L. Arthurs, Lauren A. Jones, Konstantinos Justin Bogias, Ben W. Mol, Julia Dalton, Gustaaf A. Dekker, Claire T. Roberts

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Abstract

Folic acid (FA) food fortification in Australia has resulted in a higher-than-expected intake of FA during pregnancy. High FA intake is associated with increased insulin resistance and gestational diabetes. We aimed to establish whether maternal one-carbon metabolism and hormones that regulate glucose homeostasis change in healthy pregnancies post-FA food fortification. Circulating folate, B12, homocysteine, prolactin (PRL), human placental lactogen (hPL) and placental growth hormone (GH2) were measured in early pregnancy maternal blood in women with uncomplicated pregnancies prior to (SCOPE: N = 604) and post (STOP: N = 711)-FA food fortification. FA food fortification resulted in 63% higher maternal folate. STOP women had lower hPL (33%) and GH2 (43%) after 10 weeks of gestation, but they had higher PRL (29%) and hPL (28%) after 16 weeks. FA supplementation during pregnancy increased maternal folate and reduced homocysteine but only in the SCOPE group, and it was associated with 54% higher PRL in SCOPE but 28% lower PRL in STOP. FA food fortification increased maternal folate status, but supplements no longer had an effect, thereby calling into question their utility. An altered secretion of hormones that regulate glucose homeostasis in pregnancy could place women post-fortification at an increased risk of insulin resistance and gestational diabetes, particularly for older women and those with obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1553
Number of pages25
JournalNutrients
Volume15
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • folic acid
  • gestational diabetes mellitus
  • human placental lactogen
  • obesity
  • placental growth hormone
  • pregnancy
  • prolactin

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