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Folic Acid Supplements and Fortification Affect the Risk for Neural Tube Defects, Vascular Disease and Cancer: Evolving Science

Bailey, Lynn B., Rampersaud, Gail C., Kauwell, Gail P.A.
Journal of nutrition 2003 v.133 no.6 pp. 1961S-1968S
folic acid, food fortification, issues and policy, neoplasms, neural tube defects, public health, risk, women, Canada, United States
Folic acid supplements reduce the risk of neural tube defects and may be associated with reduced risk for vascular disease and cancer. Research data from both observational and controlled intervention studies provide strong support for the existing public health policies related to folic acid and neural tube defects. However, educational efforts to promote daily intake of folic acid supplements by women of reproductive age have not, in most cases, resulted in increased supplement use. In contrast, food fortification appears to be associated with a reduction in neural tube defects in the United States and Canada but is not practiced universally. The potential for folic acid supplements to reduce the incidence and severity of vascular disease and cancer is the focus of major research efforts including ongoing intervention studies.