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Dietary Intake and Status of Folate, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 in Pregnant Women in Alberta Open Access


Other title
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B6
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fayyaz, Faiqa
Supervisor and department
Dr. Catherine J. Field, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Deborah L. O'Connor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto
Dr. Rene L. Jacobs, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science
Dr. Rhonda C. Bell, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
Nutrition and Metabolism
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
A multivitamin supplement containing folic acid is recommended during pregnancy. However, few women are counselled by a dietitian during pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to determine folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 status and to estimate the contribution of food and supplements to the intake of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 in pregnant women. The B-vitamins intakes were estimated in women (N=599) in the Alberta Pregnancy and Outcomes and Nutrition cohort during pregnancy and at 3-months postpartum using multiple 24-hour recalls and supplement intake questionnaires. Red blood cell folate (RBCF) and plasma folate, holotranscobalamin and pyridoxal 5-phosphate were measured. A quarter of the women had sub-optimal folate status in the first trimester of pregnancy and over half the women had abnormally high folate status suggesting that supplementation during pregnancy is not appropriate in a cohort of women considered to be healthy and a low risk for nutritional deficiencies.The prevalence of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 deficiency was very low in the cohort. The percentage of women with intakes of the B-vitamins below the EAR was negligible during pregnancy but increased during 3-months postpartum. The risk of inadequacy of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 from food alone was 25, 19, and 33 times higher respectively compare to total intake (food + supplement). During pregnancy and postpartum a high proportion of the women (59% to 85%) had folic acid intakes that exceeded the upper level. Even in a group of healthy women with low risk pregnancies and high socio-economic status, the use of supplemental folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 is required to ensure women meet dietary perinatal recommendations. Guidance is needed in recommending the appropriate supplemental dose of folic acid.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
A version of this chapter has been accepted for publication as; Folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 status of a group of high socio-economic status women in the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) cohort. Faiqa Fayyaz, Flora Wang, René L. Jacobs, Deborah L. O’Connor, Rhonda C. Bell, Catherine J. Field. Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2014.

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