That’s One More Reason to Take Folic Acid
By Kathy Sena
If you’re a woman of child-bearing age, you’ve no doubt heard all the reminders about getting enough folic acid in your diet. Doctors advise women to make sure they get enough of this nutrient before they even become pregnant, as this can reduce the risk of spina bifida and related birth defects in the baby.
Now here’s another reason to be vigilant about getting enough folic acid: a lower risk of serious heart defects in babies. Using government databases, researchers from Victoria Hospital in Montreal tracked serious heart defects among babies born in Quebec, Canada in the nine years before folic acid was added to grain products and in the seven years after.
They didn’t find much variation in the annual rates of serious heart problems before folic acid was added, with around 1.64 babies in every 1,000 having these defects. In the years following, however, serious heart defects decreased, affecting around 1.47 babies in every 1,000.
Just one more reason to make sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient.