Folate Intake Positively Linked to Academic Achievement

Association not attenuated by socioeconomic status or MTHFR 677 TT homozygosity

MONDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Folate intake is positively associated with academic achievement in 15-year-old children, according to a study published online July 11 in Pediatrics.

Torbjörn K. Nilsson, M.D., Ph.D., from the Örebro University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues investigated the potential presence of a link between academic achievement in 368 Swedish adolescents and total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) and its determinants, dietary folate intake, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677 TT homozygosity, and socioeconomic status (SES). Plasma tHcy and the MTHFR 677 C → T genotype of adolescents aged 15 years were assayed. The participants' academic achievements were obtained using the sum of their school grades from 10 core subjects from their final semester of nine compulsory years of schooling. Questionnaires were used to collect dietary intake and SES data (based on school, mother's education, and father's income).

The investigators found that academic achievement had a strong, significant, negative association with tertiles of tHcy and a significant, positive association with tertiles of folate intake. Gender, smoking, and SES were also significant predictors of academic achievement. After controlling for these factors, there remained a significant correlation between academic achievement and tertiles of folate intake, but not tertiles of tHcy or MTHFR genotypes.

"Folate intake had a positive association with academic achievement in the 15-year-olds, which was not attenuated by SES or MTHFR 677 TT homozygosity. These results provide new information that points to the importance of keeping a closer watch on folate status in childhood and adolescence," the authors write.

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