Folic acid food supplementation cuts neural tube defects in US

The number of babies born in the US with neural tube defects has fallen dramatically following folic acid fortification of foodstuffs.

Jacqui Wise
Jun 19, 2001

LONDON The number of babies born in the US with neural tube defects has fallen by 19% since folic acid started to be added to bread and other grain products three years ago, according to new research (JAMA 2001, 285:2981-2986). The finding provides further ammunition for campaigners who feel that other governments have been dragging their heels over implementing a similar fortification policy.

On 13 January 2000 the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition (COMA), a group of independent scientific experts, recommended that folic acid should be added to flour in order to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in the UK. There then followed a consultation period, which ended last October. Nothing more has happened since then.

Nick Wald, a member of the COMA advisory committee and Professor of Environmental and Preventative Medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London,...

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