19 July 2011
Higher folate intake has been linked, for the first time, to better academic performance in adolescents, independent of socioeconomic status.
Researchers in Sweden took blood samples from 386 adolescents aged 15 years and questioned them on lifestyle and parental education levels.
The teenagers' folate intake was estimated from dietary assessment, and their final semester academic grades from the final year of compulsory schooling were recorded.
"We found evidence that high folate intake is positively associated with academic achievement as assessed by school grades in Swedish adolescents," the authors said (Pediatrics 2011; online 11 Jul).
They added that the association was more pronounced in low-income families, but this was not the sole driver.
"These results provide new information that points to the importance of keeping a closer watch on folate status in childhood and adolescence," the authors said, noting folate is not generally added to food in Sweden.
Last Reviewed: 22 July 2011