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Small Increases In Folate Levels Are Enough To Reduce Folic Acid Deficiencies - Study

January 17, 2011: 09:05 PM EST

An Australian study has found that government-led folate promotion programs have reduced folate deficiency in the population with only small increases in overall folate intake. Scientific evidence has shown that adding the B vitamin folate to the diet of childbearing-age and pregnant women reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. This has led to government-sponsored efforts to encourage women of childbearing age to supplement their daily intake of folate. Australia implemented food standards calling for fortification of bread flour with folic acid. However, there is continuing concern that excess folic acid in the diet may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease and mask vitamin B12 deficiency. But the study found that ”relatively minor” increases in blood folate levels “have led to an impressive reduction” in folate deficiency in Australia.

Ross D Brown, et al. , "The impact of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid on the blood folate levels of an Australian population", The Medical Journal of Australlia, January 17, 2011, © The Medical Journal of Australlia
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