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article imageCanadians are not folate deficient according to study

By KJ Mullins     Dec 18, 2010 in Health
There is good news for pregnant Canadian women, folate deficiency is virtually nonexistent in Canada. Folic acid deficiency is one of the leading causes of neural tube birth defects.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on December 13 assessed over 5,000 Canadians of varying age, sex and socioeconomic standing. It was found that 40 percent had high concentrations of folate and less than one percent demonstrated folate deficiency. The study was completed by researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.
“Given that folate deficiency is virtually nonexistent and that high blood folate concentrations are reported in the Canadian population in our study, it seems prudent for manufacturers to remove folic acid from multi-vitamin supplements designed for children and men,” says Dr. Deborah L. O’Connor, Director of Clinical Dietetics at SickKids.
While this is good news for Canadian women the study did find that 22 percent of Canadian women were below the level that is considered to be optimal to prevent neural tube defects.
In 1998 folic acid fortification of the Canadian food supply was put into motion. Since that time there has been a 46 percent reduction of neural tube birth defects. It is also thought that this action reduced the risk of congenital heart disease and oral clefts. For this reason Health Canada continues to recommend that healthy women who could become pregnant take a multi-vitamin supplement with 400 ug folic acid at least three months prior to conceiving and through the first trimester of pregnancy.
More about Folic acid, Canadians, Pregnancy, Birth defects
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