Low serum folic acid levels in a nursing home population: A clinical experience

P. J. Drinka, E. H. Langer, S. K. Voeks, James Goodwin

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Abstract

Four hundred fifty-five residents of the Wisconsin Veterans Home had fasting serum specimens obtained for folic acid as part of standard practice. Twenty-nine percent were taking folic acid supplements. Six percent (n = 28) were taking phenytoin, a folate antagonist. No resident receiving a folate supplement (400 mcg/day) had a low serum folic acid level. This finding may be important for practitioners selecting a dose of folic acid for nursing home patients. Of the 325 residents not receiving a folate supplement, nine (3%) had low folic acid levels (<2.5 ng/mL). Two of the nine were receiving phenytoin. Five were characterized by staff as eating well. As low serum levels are preventable with a multivitamin, we believe that supplementation with a multivitamin containing 400 mcg folic acid/day should be considered in nursing home residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-189
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Volume12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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