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High red blood cell folate is associated with an increased risk of diabetes death among a hypertensive cohort.

Nutrition Research 2024 April 31
The relationship between folate and diabetes remains inconclusive, possibly because of folate measured differentially between studies. Interference from mandatory folic acid fortification (FAF) has also been blamed. With both folate intake and circulating concentration measured, we assessed the relationship between folate and the risk of diabetes death in a hypertensive cohort established before FAF. We hypothesized that the association between folate and diabetes death is measurement dependent. We analyzed the data of 3133 hypertensive adults aged ≥19 years who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1991-1994) and were followed up through December 31, 2010. Hazard ratios of diabetes death were estimated for participants with high (4th quartile) folate compared with those with moderate (2nd and 3rd quartiles) or low (1st quartile) concentrations of folate. Dietary folate intake, total folate intake (including folate from supplements), serum, and red blood cell (RBC) folate were measured. After 42,025 person-years of follow-up, 165 diabetes deaths were recorded, and a dose-response positive association was observed between diabetes death and RBC folate. The adjusted hazard ratios of diabetes death were 1.00 (reference), 1.80 (95% CI. 1.52-2.13), and 2.33 (1.80-3.02), respectively, for hypertensive adults with low, moderate, and high RBC folate. No association was detected between diabetes death and serum folate concentration, folate intake, or either dietary intake or total intake. With minimized interference from FAF, neither dietary nor serum folate was associated with diabetes death, but elevated RBC folate was associated with a high risk of diabetes deaths among hypertensive patients.

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