Folate

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Folate: Folates are a group of water soluble vitamins that can be found naturally in many food sources. Folates play important roles in the metabolism of protein and nucleic acid synthesis. ‘Folic acid’ is the term commonly used in place of folate. Folate refers to the naturally occurring vitamins known as polyglutamate. Whereas folic acid refers to the most stable, oxidised and synthetic form known as monoglutamates. Folates found naturally in foods need to be initially hydrolysed by a deconjugase enzyme prior to absorption in the gut. The absorption of folate from natural sources is much lower than the absorption from the synthetic form ‘folic acid’ due to the presence of the conjugase enzyme inhibitors in certain food sources. (Arcota and Shrestha, 2005) Folic acid’s bioavailability and stability in food is the reason it is used widely for fortification in many food products. The benefits of folate have come to light in recent years and this has led to the fortification of many cereal-based foods to be enriched with folic acid. The major food sources of folate include liver, beans, legumes, green leafy vegetables, egg yolk and fortified breakfast cereals. (Arcota and Shrestha, 2005) Structure of Folate (Du, Borlace, Brooks, Butler, Brooks, et al, 2013) Section 1: Folate Extraction Methods Folate Conjugase Extraction: The most common method for extracting folates from food is achieved using conjugase enzyme also known as gamma-glutamyl hydrolase. The conjugase enzyme can be obtained from a number of different sources including human plasma, rat plasma, rat liver, chicken pancreas and hog kidney. The most common conjugase used are chicken pancreas and hog kidney. The traditional method has been improved although studies sug... ... middle of paper ... ...o not exceed the tolerable upper intake level of 1mg. EFSA Authorised Health Claims: • Folate contributes to maternal tissue during pregnancy. • Folate contributes to normal amino acid synthesis. • Folate contributes to normal blood formation. • Folate contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism. • Folate contributes to normal physiological function. • Folate contributes to the normal function of the immune system. • Folate contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. • Folate has a role in the process of cell division. (EFSA, 2013) Above are the health claims associated with the consumption of folate which have been authorised by EFSA. To date there are still a number of health claims that have yet to be approved by EFSA. There needs to be more investment into these claims in order for more health claims associated with folate to be authorised.

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