THURSDAY, May 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Higher prepregnancy habitual folate intake from supplements is associated with a lower risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), according to a study published online April 22 in Diabetes Care.

Mengying Li, Ph.D., from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the correlation between prepregnancy habitual folate intake and GDM risk among 14,553 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. A food frequency questionnaire administered every four years was used to assess prepregnancy intake of total folate, supplemental folate, and food folate.

The researchers found that 824 incident GDM cases were reported among 20,199 pregnancies during follow-up. The relative risk for GDM was 0.83 for women with adequate total folate intake (≥400 µg/day) compared with women with inadequate intake (<400 µg/day). The correlation was driven by supplemental intake. The relative risks for GDM were 0.83, 0.77, and 0.70, respectively, for 1 to 399, 400 to 599, and ≥600 µg/day of supplemental folate intake compared with no supplemental intake. After additional adjustment for intake of multivitamins and other micronutrients, as well as among women who likely planned for the pregnancy, the correlation mainly persisted.

“If confirmed, our findings indicate that prepregnancy folic acid supplementation could offer a feasible, novel, and low-cost avenue to reduce the risk of GDM,” the authors write.

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