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Folate and vitamin B12 in older Australians

Victoria Flood and Paul Mitchell
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (6): 321-322.
Published online: 19 March 2007

To the Editor: The recent viewpoint by Kamien1 and letter by Gunasekera2 rightly highlight the benefits of folate fortification and the unlikely occurrence of masking pernicious anaemia. Food Standards Australia New Zealand recently submitted a proposal supporting the mandatory fortification of bread-making flour to increase folate intakes in women of child-bearing age, with the aim of reducing the risk of children being born with neural tube defects.3 This proposal has had extensive public comment and will be considered by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council. Several public groups and individuals continue to raise concerns that higher dietary folate levels could increase B12 deficiency. Our data, collected from a population-based sample of 2596 older people in the Blue Mountains region, from 1997 to 2000, do not suggest that this is a likely outcome.

  • Victoria Flood1
  • Paul Mitchell2,3

  • 1 NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

Victoria Flood and Paul Mitchell received a Kellogg’s Research Grant 1998–2000.

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