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Folic acid for everybody? Arguments in favor of food fortification to reduce neural tube defects

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
Neural tube defects in neonates are common in Germany compared with the rest of Europe. Extensive folic acid fortification of foods in Germany might prevent these in 85–100% of cases, researchers argue.

Neural tube defects in neonates are common in Germany compared with the rest of Europe. Extensive folic acid fortification of foods in Germany might prevent these in 85-100% of cases, Wolfgang Herrmann and Rima Obeid argue in this issue of Deutsches Δrzteblatt International.

A woman's folic acid intake before and during early pregnancy ensures that the fetus does not develop the neural tube defect commonly known as spina bifida. Every year, 800 pregnancies in Germany are diagnosed with a neural tube defect. Most of those pregnancies are terminated.

However, the mandatory fortification of foods with folic acid is subject of controversy in Germany. Overdosages of folic acid are suspected of accelerating the growth of certain cancers. Herrmann and Obeid evaluate different international studies and show that this suspicion is not supported by the evidence. No association was found, for example, for the observed increase in the number of patients with colorectal cancer after folic acid fortification programs started in the United States and Canada. According to Herrmann and Obeid, the increase can be explained by improved early detection programs during this time period.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wolfgang Herrmann and Rima Obeid. The mandatory fortification of staple foods with folic acid: A current controversy in Germany. Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2011; 108(15): 249%u201354 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2011.0249

Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Folic acid for everybody? Arguments in favor of food fortification to reduce neural tube defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092459.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2011, April 28). Folic acid for everybody? Arguments in favor of food fortification to reduce neural tube defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092459.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Folic acid for everybody? Arguments in favor of food fortification to reduce neural tube defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092459.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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