Folic acid linked to better grades in teens

July 13, 2011 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Folic acid linked to better grades in teens
According to Swedish researchers, teenagers who consumed more folic acid got better grades in school.

To investigate, researchers looked at over 350 15-year-olds who were finishing up ninth grade and the amount of folic acid they got from their diet. When all their grades from their classes were added up, researchers found a clear difference between teens who got the most and the least folic acid in their diets.

In fact, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics that teens in the top third of folic acid intake, more than 253 micrograms per day for girls and 335 for boys, scored grades of 139 out of 200, on average.

Those in the bottom third, less than 173 micrograms folic acid per day for girls and 227 for boys, had an average score of only 120.

The differences remained even after the researchers accounted for gender, smoking, the mothers' education and which schools the kids went to.

While the findings are promising and warrant further research, stocking up on extra folic acid may not do you much good in terms of school grades if you live in North American, where most people get adequate amounts of the vitamin.  Unlike Sweden, certain foods are fortified with folic acid in North American in an effort to prevent a birth defect that develops during pregnancy.

Aside from fortifying food, Health Canada advises all women who could become pregnant to take a daily multivitamin containing 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid to prevent birth defects.

Natural food sources of the vitamin include cooked beans and lentils, peanut butter, sunflower seeds and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and bok choy.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.