European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 51–53 | Cite as

High folate intakes related to zinc status in preterm infants

  • N. J. Fuller
  • C. J. Bates
  • P. H. Evans
  • A. Lucas


The former practice of giving 1 mg (2.27 μmoles) oral folic acid daily to premature infants receiving enteral feeds was assessed with respect to zinc status in Cambridge, United Kingdom. A group of 60 preterm infants, 80% of whom were receiving 1 mg oral folic acid daily, were studied for up to the first 16 weeks of life. Plasma folate and plasma zinc were measured for each subject. A significant inverse relationship was found between the maximum attained serum folate level and the minimum attained serum zinc level, (t=5.0, 58 df, P<0.0001). This remained significant after corrections had been made for gestational age at birth, fetal growth retardation, birth weight, sex, diet, assisted ventilation and length of time to full enteral feeding. The hypothesis that very high folate intakes may adversely affect serum zinc levels and, by inference, zinc status in preterm infants could not be rejected. Caution is therefore advised when prescribing such very high folate doses daily for small preterm infants.

Key words

Preterm infants Zinc Folate Plasma Supplement 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. J. Fuller
    • 1
  • C. J. Bates
    • 1
  • P. H. Evans
    • 1
  • A. Lucas
    • 1
  1. 1.Dunn Nutrition UnitMedical Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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