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Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Date:5/12/2009

at the benefit of folic acid in reducing congenital heart defects, said Dr. Diane M. Ashton, deputy medical director of the March of Dimes.

These heart defects are rare, but when they occur, they are severe and costly, she said. "If you can reduce such a significant abnormality by doing something as simple as a public health intervention by increasing folic acid in the grain supply and encouraging individuals to take folic acid supplementation, it's a win-win situation," she said.

In another study reported this year, folic acid intake was shown to reduce the likelihood of premature birth.

Despite a Canadian awareness campaign launched in 2002, many mothers still do not take folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant, the Quebec study noted. "Women at conceptual age should be aware of the preventive effects of folic acid and take it before becoming pregnant," Ionescu-Ittu said.

More information

For more information on folic acid and pregnancy, visit the March of Dimes.



SOURCES: Raluca Ionescu-Ittu, Ph.D. candidate, McGill University, Montreal; May 12, 2009, British Medical Journal, online


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