Folate supplements could improve immune system in the elderly

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Folic acid

A diet rich in folic acid could boost the immune system in the old
people,suggest the results from a new Canadian study with rats.

The researchers from the University of Alberta showed that feeding 23-month-old rats with folic acid (35 mg per kg of feed) produced a dramatic increase in T-cell distribution and mitogen response (cell division to increase the immune response).

T-cells are a subset of lymphocytes that play a major role in the immune response. But as the body ages, their levels fall significantly.

When the researchers measured the levels of a kind of T-cell, CD8+, in the spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes of the supplemented rats after three weeks, the proportion was about the same as those measured in 12-months-old rats.

"The results of the current study suggest that, as the elderly population increases, public health measures aimed at significantly increasing folate intake should be considered,"​ reported Catherine Field and colleagues in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry​ (vol 17, pp 37-44).

Folate supplementation is a particularly hot topic at the moment. TheScientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a group of independentexperts that advises the UK's food authorities and health department,recently called for folic acid to be added to flour to increase pregnant women's levels of this nutrient and protect against birth defects.

But there has previously been some opposition to the initiative as folic acid can mask deficiency of another B vitamin in the elderly.

The new study however makes a case for the benefits of folic acid in the elderly as well as pregnant women. A recent study has also suggested that higher folic acid intake may improve memory in the older population.

Flour in the US and Canada is already fortified with folic acid and Ireland is also consulting on a similar programme.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Tipping the Scales for Healthy Weight

Tipping the Scales for Healthy Weight

Despite the current health and wellness craze, weight gain and obesity continue to rise. Whether a person gains or loses weight is a basic equation of...

Lutein. The Next New Vitamin?

Lutein. The Next New Vitamin?

Out of the 600 or more carotenoids found in nature, only three are found in the macula of the eye—lutein, RR-zeaxanthin and RS (meso)-zeaxanthin. These...

MenaQ7® Partners Benefit From K2 Outreach

MenaQ7® Partners Benefit From K2 Outreach

NattoPharma USA, Inc. | 22-Apr-2019 | Case Study

MenaQ7® K2 as MK-7 provides health benefits for all ages. That is a fact clinically proven by NattoPharma and communicated to practitioners and consumers...

10 INGREDIENTS FOR BLOOD SUGAR MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

10 INGREDIENTS FOR BLOOD SUGAR MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

SABINSA | 15-Apr-2019 | Technical / White Paper

The Blood Sugar Management / Glucose Metabolic Support is a condition-specific category that’s one of the most difficult to label, or make claims for,...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars