New French guide for daily vitamin/mineral intake includes B9 for pregnancy

May 12th, 2021


The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ASES) has updated the dietary reference values for vitamin and mineral intake, with recommendations on folate in pregnancy.

ASES and the Nutrient Requirements 

Vitamins and minerals are essential to our health, growth and body functions, but their intake requires to meet the nutritional needs of the population, without leading to excess. The amount of each individual nutrient needed to maintain an individual’s health, vary depending on age and gender. Level of physical activity, physiological status (such as pregnancy), dietary habits and genetic background are also important factors.

The new values published by the ANSES, last revised back in 2016, constitute the new reference values for the vitamin and mineral intake of people in good health in France. The revision has been based on the studies providing the basis for these dietary reference values primarily conducted in a Western-type dietary context. The ANSES therefore considers that research is necessary to adapt these reference values to other contexts and other dietary habits, particularly in overseas territories.

The B9 (Folate) recommendations for ASES
Meeting needs in vitamins D and B9 remains a public health issue, said the Agency. In particular with reference to the vitamin B9: “For women, particular emphasis must be placed on achieving a sufficient intake. To prevent any risk of malformations in unborn children, it is essential for all women likely to become pregnant to have a sufficient intake of vitamin B9. This approach is protective, since it takes account of unplanned pregnancies.” ANSES reiterates that vitamin B9 needs can be covered by eating pulses, green leafy vegetables, yeast flakes, wheat germ or egg yolk, which can be excellent sources.

In France the mean incidence of neural tube defects which is a major consequence of a vitamin B9 deficiency in women in early pregnancy, is about 1 in 1000 pregnancies. 

How the active folate Quatrefolic® can help French people, especially women?
When the daily dietary folate is not enough to reach the suggested nutrient intake of the vitamin B9, the external supplementation through food supplement is overall recommended.
Inadequate folate intake and low serum folate concentrations were associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. It is therefore important to ensure adequate folate intake during pregnancy to prevent maternal folate depletion, which would thus allow for adequate fetal supplies for growth and development.  If the pregnant woman's average folate intake, over time, is less than the RDA, it can be inferred that there is an increased likelihood that the intake will be inadequate. (Bailey LB. Am J Clin Nutr 2000, Scholl TO et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1996).

Since 2015, Quatrefolic® (the glucosamine salt of the 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF)) is recognized as an alternative source of folate, and approved by EFSA Authority as Novel Food Ingredient. It could be added for nutritional purposes to food supplements of all the European Community. 
Already in the form of biologically active folate, the 5-MTHF that doesn’t need to be metabolized to become effective, Quatrefolic® provides the right dosage of vitamin B9 to all women that need folate supplementation, including those with the polymorphism of the enzyme MTHFR engaged in the biological bioconversion of folic acid into 5-MTHF. (Quatrefolic® - Quatrefolic VS Folic Acid)

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