Publications by authors named "Shannon E Hunt"

2 Publications

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Red Blood Cell Folate Likely Overestimated in Australian National Survey: Implications for Neural Tube Defect Risk.

Nutrients 2020 May 1;12(5). Epub 2020 May 1.

Women and Kids Theme, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide 5000, South Australia, Australia.

In 2009, the Australian government mandated the addition of folic acid to bread flour to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects (NTD)-affected pregnancies. In 2011-2012, the Australian Health Measures Survey (AHMS) reported a mean red blood cell (RBC) folate in women of reproductive age (16-44 y) of 1647 nmol/L. Over 99% of women had an RBC folate ≥ 906 nmol/L, a concentration consistent with a very low risk of NTDs if a woman became pregnant. However, RBC folate was measured using an immunoassay, which is not a recommended method due to questionable accuracy. The microbiological assay is the preferred method for RBC folate measurement. To determine whether the immunoassay method may have led to spurious conclusions about the folate status of Australian women, we collected fasting blood samples from 74 healthy non-pregnant, non-lactating women (18-44 y) and measured RBC folate using both the immunoassay and microbiological methods. Mean RBC folate (95% confidence interval) concentration measured with the immunoassay method was 1735 (1666, 1804) nmol/L compared with 942 (887, 1012) nmol/L using the microbiological method. No woman had an RBC folate < 906 nmol/L using the immunoassay method, whereas 46% of women had an RBC folate < 906 nmol/L using the microbiological method. The NTD risk was estimated to be 0.06% using the immunoassay method and 0.14% using the microbiological method. RBC folate using AHMS survey may have underestimated NTD risk in Australian women.
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May 2020

Suboptimal Biochemical Riboflavin Status Is Associated with Lower Hemoglobin and Higher Rates of Anemia in a Sample of Canadian and Malaysian Women of Reproductive Age.

J Nutr 2019 11;149(11):1952-1959

Department of Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Riboflavin is required for several redox reactions. Clinical riboflavin deficiency occurs mainly in low-income countries, where it is associated with anemia. The functional significance of suboptimal riboflavin status in different populations and its role in anemia is not well understood.

Objectives: We assessed the biomarker status of riboflavin and its association with hemoglobin concentration and anemia in women living in Vancouver, Canada, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Methods: Healthy nonpregnant, nonbreastfeeding women (19-45 y) were recruited from Canada ( n = 206) and Malaysia (n = 210) via convenience sampling. Fasting blood was collected to assess riboflavin status [erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRac)], hematological indicators, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), ferritin, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin B-12 concentrations. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of riboflavin status with hemoglobin concentration and anemia.

Results: EGRac (mean ± SD) values were higher, indicating poorer riboflavin status, in Malaysian compared with Canadian women (1.49 ± 0.17 compared with 1.38 ± 0.11). Likewise, riboflavin biomarker deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) was significantly more prevalent among Malaysians than Canadians (71% compared with 40%). More Malaysian than Canadian women were anemic (hemoglobin <120 g/L; 18% compared with 7%). With use of linear regression (pooled sample; n = 416), EGRac values were negatively associated with hemoglobin concentration (r = -0.18; P < 0.001). This relation remained significant (P = 0.029) after adjusting for age, parity, ethnicity, vitamin B-12, folate, sTfR, ferritin, and vitamin A. Women with riboflavin deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) were twice as likely to present with anemia (adjusted OR: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.08, 5.27) compared with women with EGRac <1.40.

Conclusions: Biochemical riboflavin deficiency was observed in Canadian and Malaysian women, with higher rates of deficiency among Malaysian women. Deficient biomarker status of riboflavin was a weak but significant predictor of hemoglobin and anemia, suggesting that the correction of riboflavin deficiency may potentially play a small protective role in anemia, but this requires further investigation.
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November 2019