April 22, 2024

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More than Half of South Korean Youth Lack Sufficient Folate Levels

More than Half of South Korean Youth Lack Sufficient Folate Levels

More than Half of South Korean Youth Lack Sufficient Folate Levels

More than half of South Koreans aged 10-20 have insufficient folate levels in their blood, according to a study published by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on the 20th.

Folate (or vitamin B9) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in cell growth and division. It is known as a nutrient that women of childbearing age need to consume adequately before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding for the growth and development of the fetus.

The deficiency of folate in adults has been reported to be associated with the occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Using data from the “Sixth National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2015),” the National Institute of Health compared and analyzed the blood folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine levels of 8,016 men and women aged 10 and older in Korea.

According to the analysis, 5.1% of men and women aged 10 and older were deficient in blood folate, and 31% were borderline deficient. Particularly, about 13% of those in their teens and 20s were deficient, and more than 45% were borderline deficient, showing more serious results.

Men had a higher deficiency rate of blood folate compared to women, with more than 60% of teenage boys and over 70% of men in their 20s not reaching the appropriate blood folate levels.

More than Half of South Korean Youth Lack Sufficient Folate Levels

What negative impacts on human health if the deficiency of folate in adults?

The deficiency of folate in adults can have several negative impacts on human health, including:
  1. Anemia: Folate deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces large, immature red blood cells, which can result in fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

  2. Birth Defects: Adequate folate intake is crucial, especially during early pregnancy, to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) in the developing fetus, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

  3. Cardiovascular Disease: Folate deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as it plays a role in the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid that at high levels can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  4. Poor Immune Function: Folate is important for the proper functioning of the immune system, and a deficiency can weaken the immune response, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

  5. Mental Health Issues: Folate deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of depression, cognitive decline, and possibly even conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

  6. Digestive Problems: Some individuals with folate deficiency may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

  7. Fatigue and Weakness: Folate is essential for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, and irritability.

It’s important to note that folate deficiency can often be prevented and treated with dietary changes or supplements, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

How to improve the folate level in human?


Improving folate levels in the body can be achieved through dietary changes and, if necessary, supplementation. Here are some ways to increase folate intake:

  1. Dietary Sources: Include folate-rich foods in your diet such as leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale), legumes (lentils, chickpeas), fruits (avocado, oranges), nuts and seeds, and fortified cereals and bread.

  2. Cooking Methods: Cooking can destroy folate, so try to steam or eat these foods raw when possible to retain their folate content.

  3. Folic Acid Supplements: If you’re at risk of deficiency or need to increase your folate intake, consider taking a folic acid supplement. This is especially important for pregnant women and those planning to conceive.

  4. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol can interfere with the absorption of folate, so limit your alcohol intake if you’re trying to improve your folate levels.

  5. Limit Cooking Time: If you need to cook folate-rich foods, minimize cooking time and use minimal water to reduce folate loss.

  6. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you suspect you have a folate deficiency or need to increase your intake, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized advice and may recommend specific supplements or dietary changes based on your needs.

By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle, you can improve your folate levels and support overall health and well-being.

More than Half of South Korean Youth Lack Sufficient Folate Levels

(source:internet, reference only)

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