Folic Acid Fortification Linked to Decrease in Severe Congenital Heart Disease
When taken by women before becoming pregnant,
Researchers from Canada investigated the link between folic acid and congenital heart defects by looking for changes in the rates of births with congenital heart defects before and after the fortification of grain products. Their study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that, like neural tube defects, the rate of congenital birth defects dropped.
About the Study
The study reviewed the 1,324,440 births in Quebec from 1990 to 2005. During that time 2,083 infants were born with congenital heart defects, confirmed through medical records and death certificates. The mandatory addition of folic acid to flour and pasta did not begin in Canada until 1998. The 15-year period that the study included allowed the researchers to see changes in the rate of congenital heart defects before and after the folic acid addition.
The researchers found that there was a 6% decrease of congenital heart defects per year after the folic acid fortification program was in place.
How Does This Affect You?
Women of childbearing age should aim for 400 mcg (micrograms) per day, pregnant women should aim for 600 mcg per day. Folic acid or folate can be
March of Dimes
Ionescu-Ittu R, Marelli AJ, Mackie AS, Pilote L. Prevalence of severe congenital heart disease after folic acid fortification of grain products: time trend analysis in Quebec, Canada. BMJ. 2009 May 12;338:b1673.
Last reviewed June 2009 by
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