Israeli researchers conclude that patients with Crohn's disease may benefit from supplementing with folic acid. People with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) tend to be at greater risk for thromboembolic events (blood clots) such as stroke and peripheral venous thrombosis. Researchers at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center believe they may have found the reason for this. They studied 105 men and women with active Crohn's disease and compared their blood levels of homocysteine (a known risk factor for blood clots), folic acid and vitamin B12 to the levels found in 105 healthy controls. They found that homocysteine levels were significantly higher in patients with mild to moderately active Crohn's disease and that folic acid and vitamin B12 levels were significantly lower. The average level of folic acid was 5.9 pg/mL (normal range is 5 to 17 pg/mL). The researchers point out that it is well established that increased folate levels correspond to lower homocysteine levels.
Chowers, Yehuda, et al. Increased levels of homocysteine in patients with Crohn's disease are related to folate levels. American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol. 95, December 2000, pp. 3498-3502