Azara Blog: Folic acid may lead to long term health problems

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Date published: 2007/10/30

The BBC says:

Fortifying flour with folic acid to cut birth defects may lead to a range of health problems, warn scientists.

The move was approved earlier this year by the Food Standards Agency as a way to reduce defects such as spina bifida.

However, an Institute of Food Research team has shown the liver could easily become saturated by folic acid.

Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, they warn this could lead to unmetabolised folic acid entering the blood, which could damage health.

The latest study follows a letter to the Food Standards Agency from Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer of England, requesting further expert consideration of two recent studies linking folic acid to bowel cancer before the government gives the final go-ahead for mandatory fortification.

But the Food Standards Agency said fortification was safe.
[ Researcher Dr Sian ] Astley warned it could take 20 years for any potential harmful effects of unmetabolised folic acid to become apparent.

It has already been shown that folic acid forticifation can cause harm to some people.

For example, studies have confirmed that unmetabolised folic acid accelerates cognitive decline in the elderly with low levels of vitamin B12.

Well, at least someone is looking at this. The government is about to embark on a mass medication of the public, for the benefit of a small minority (babies of pregnant women). Far better would be to leave it to be the responsibility of pregnant women to take enough folic acid. It is outrageous that an irresponsible small minority of a small minority (pregnant women who would not take a folic acid supplement) is forcing the rest of the UK to take unnecessary and possibly harmful medication.

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