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Lack of folic acid blamed for European fetal death, disease

August 31 2015. A report published online on July 14, 2015 in the journal Birth Defects Research Part A estimates that 50% or more of the cases of spina bifida and other birth defects in Europe could be prevented by the fortification of grain products with the B vitamin folic acid.

"European women have a blood level of folate that is only around half the level recently recommended by the WHO for the prevention of birth defects," commented lead author Rima Obeid of Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies at Aarhus University. "There is no doubt that a policy on folic acid enrichment would increase women's folate and prevent a significant percentage of the spina bifida cases in many European countries and thus prevent deaths and illnesses among children."

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