Folic acid to fortify flour ‘would cut birth defects’

Folic acid to fortify flour ‘would cut birth defects’

Folic acid to fortify flour ‘would cut birth defects’

Written by Staff Writer

18 Dec, 2015 | 7:17 am

UK experts are backing the call for flour to be fortified with folic acid – a move which they say would have prevented around 2,000 cases of serious birth defects since 1998.

The failure to fortify flour has caused serious disabilities, including spina bifida, and resulted in terminations and stillbirths, their study said.

The US and 77 other countries already have a policy in place.

Folic acid is found naturally in some foods, such as green vegetables, nuts and granary bread.

It is added to some breakfast cereals, but it is very difficult for pregnant women to get enough from diet alone.

It has been recommended that women take folic acid supplements before pregnancy to reduce their risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTD) – which involve defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord.

But recent research shows that only 28% of pregnant women take them at the correct time.

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