According to health experts, the UK must take actions in order to have folic acid added to bread and flour since a lack of the vitamin would be causing aborts and diseases such as spina bifida and neural tube defects in babies.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that our body uses to make new cells, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported (CDC). Health institutions from all around the world declare that folic acid intake is fundamental for everyone.
The World Health Organization said Daily oral iron and folic acid supplementation is recommended as part of the antenatal care to reduce the risk of low birth weight, maternal anaemia and iron deficiency. CDC urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid per day even a month before getting pregnant.
UK Food Standards Agency had previously recommended that folic acid should be added to bread and flour. The United States took measures since 1998, when bread and flour makers started to add the supplement in its synthetic form, which is vitamin B9. In February a spokesperson for the Department of Health from the UK said they were considering the case of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid.
New findings published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concluded that an amount of as much as 2,000 babies have been affected by the Government’s decision from 1998 that stated it wasn’t an obligation to add folic acid to flour and bread.
Other 78 countries already add B9 vitamin to flour. Results from the study would appear to show that around 150 cases a year of Spina Bifida could have been avoided. According to the CDC Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect. Spina bifida might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe, the organisation wrote.
“It is a public health failure that Britain has not implemented the fortification of flour with folic acid for the prevention of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. This failure has caused, and continues to cause, avoidable terminations of pregnancy, stillbirths, neonatal deaths and permanent serious disability in surviving children,” researchers, including from the University of Oxford, concluded.
It appears that the number of women who take folic acid supplements in England had decreased from 39 percent in 1999 to 27.8 percent in 2012, even when the UK Department of Health have advised women since 1992 to take the vitamin before and while pregnancy to prevent diseases.
“PHE’s analysis shows that 85% of 16 to 49-year-old women have folic acid levels below the new World Health Organisation recommendation for women entering pregnancy,” said Public Health England to the Independent.
So it is extremely important to remark the intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid per day before and while pregnancy to reduce the number of birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.