Nutrition assessment of B-vitamins in highly active and sedentary women

Kathleen Woolf, Nicole L. Hahn, Megan M. Christensen, Amanda Carlson-Phillips, Christine M. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Female athletes and active women require adequate nutrition for optimal health and performance. Nutrition assessments are needed to identify potential nutrients of concern. Folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 function in important pathways used during physical activity and female athletes may be at risk for poor status of these micronutrients. This cross-sectional study described a comprehensive nutrition assessment of the B-vitamins (folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) using both dietary (food and dietary supplements) and biochemical assessments among highly active and sedentary women. Methods: Highly active (n = 29; age 20 ± 2 years; body mass index (BMI) 23.8 ± 3.5 kg/m2) and sedentary (n = 29; age 24 ± 3 years; BMI 22.6 ± 3.0 kg/m2) women were recruited for this study. Participants completed 7-day weighed food records and a fasting blood draw. Results: Although the highly active women reported higher intakes of energy (p < 0.01), folate (p < 0.01), vitamin B6 (p < 0.01), and vitamin B12 (p < 0.01), no significant differences were found between the groups for biomarkers of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. All of the highly active women had biomarkers within the desired reference ranges, suggesting good status. In general, most participants were able to meet the 1998 Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) from food alone. For the women that reported using dietary supplements, micronutrient intakes met the 1998 RDA and in some cases, exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Level. Conclusion: This nutrition assessment documented good status for folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 in the highly active women. Similar assessment approaches (food, dietary supplements, and biomarkers) should to completed with other nutrients of concern for the female athlete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number329
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • B-vitamins
  • Female athlete
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrition assessment of B-vitamins in highly active and sedentary women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this