Bioavailability of Folic Acid Similar between Softgel Capsules and Tablets
The folic acid in a multivitamin + DHA softgel was absorbed in the blood stream and provided systemic bioavailability at amounts similar to that from tablets. The rate of absorption from the softgels was slower than the tablet. Also, investigators documented that iron was absorbed from the softgel capsule, a secondary endpoint of the study.
In this crossover study, investigators randomly assigned 16 women, ages 18 to 45, to receive a single dose of either 800 μg folic acid in two tablets (Nature Made Folic Acid 400 mcg) or 800 μg folic acid in a multivitamin + DHA softgel capsule (Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA). Researchers then drew patients' blood samples prior to dosing and then at one, two, three, four, six and eight hours after dosing. About one week later, the women were tested with the alternate product. The women consumed low-folate meals during the testing period. Investigators did not know which product patients received during each phase until the study ended.
The average levels of total folate in the blood, a calculation called area under the curve (AUC), did not significantly differ between softgel capsules and tablets, 122.0 versus 112.2 hour x nanograms per milliliter respectively (P = 0.562). Also, the average peak plasma concentration of folate, a calculation called Cmax, did not significantly differ, 49.0 vs. 43.1 nanomoles per liter for the softgels and tablets respectively, (P = 0.259).
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