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Differential Behavior of Serum and Red Blood Cell Folate During a Treatment with Levofolinic Acid. Gender Differences by Ana M. Lendinez, Arturo R. Palomares, Beatriz Perez-Nevot, Miriam Cortes Rodriguez, Maximiliano Ruiz-Galdon, Armando Reyes-Engel

Background: Folates are essential nutrients that maintain nucleotide synthesis and methylation reactions. Folate levels depend essentially on the diet. In the present work, the changes in the folate-homocysteine (Hcy) metabolic axis were studied in response to treatment with levofolinic acid.
Methods: 49 college students (23 men and 26 women) underwent a treatment voluntarily with 5 mg/day levofolinic acid for one month. Serum and red blood cell folate, vitamin B12, and Hcy levels were determined on days 2, 5, 10, and 30 during treatment and 30 days after completion of treatment.
Results: Serum folate and Hcy levels showed a plateau beginning on day 10, while red blood cell folate increased towards treatment completion. Gender differences were found in basal levels of Hcy, these differences remaining until the 10th day of treatment and reappearing 30 days after the treatment was finished. Between gender differences in treatment evolution were found only in percentage changes in red blood cell folate in women and men at day 30 of treatment.
Conclusions: There is a compartmentalization of folates in the body that presents a plateau in serum and an erythrocyte reservoir. Folate metabolism presents differential features between genders. The greater physiological need for folate in women of childbearing age could be the determining factor in this difference.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2013.130914