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Many US women do not consume enough folic acid

January 28, 2015

According to a new report even with fortified grain products, many US women still may not be getting enough folic acid.

In the report (1), the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health The March of Dimes stated that fortifying grain foods with the B vitamin folic acid has saved about 1,300 babies every year from being born with serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), according to new data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of babies born in the United States with these conditions has declined by 35% since 1998.

As about 3,000 pregnancies in the U.S. still are affected by NTDs annually, experts concluded that even with fortified grain products, many women still may not be getting enough folic acid. They urge all women to eat foods that contain folate, the natural form of folic acid, including lentils, green leafy vegetables, black beans, and orange juice, as well as foods fortified with folic acid, such as bread and pasta, and enriched cereals. In addition, women should take multivitamins containing folic acid, but only about one-third of women do.