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environment | health

Folic Acid Inundation Not Such a Good Thing After All - Especially for Vegetarians/Vegans

You know, about 9 years ago the US govt mandated that all grain foods in the US be fortified with the B vitamin folic acid. Their reasons seemed sound enough: it had been learned that a shortage of folic acid around the time of conception can damage fetuses. Specifically, babies were more likely to be born with open neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. But I remember at the time being concerned about the wisdom of supplementing an entire population in order to address a problem that, although devastating, affects such a tiny fraction of the population. (Even prior to the supplementation, the risk of spina bifida was less than 1 percent.) It seems that my concerns have been born out, especially for those of us who do not eat meat.
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