Publication Details

Flood, V. M. & Mitchell, P. 2007, 'Folate and vitamin B12 in older Australians', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 186, no. 6, pp. 321-322.


The recent viewpoint by Kamien1 and letter by Gunasekera2 rightly highlight the benefits of folate fortification and the unlikely occurrence of masking pernicious anaemia. Food Standards Australia New Zealand recently submitted a proposal supporting the mandatory fortification of bread-making flour to increase folate intakes in women of child-bearing age, with the aim of reducing the risk of children being born with neural tube defects.3 This proposal has had extensive public comment and will be considered by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council. Several public groups and individuals continue to raise concerns that higher dietary folate levels could increase B12 deficiency. Our data, collected from a population-based sample of 2596 older people in the Blue Mountains region, from 1997 to 2000, do not suggest that this is a likely outcome.