How does folic acid protect against neural tube defects?

Researchers have found evidence showing that increased levels of homocystine in the mothers blood contribute to the development of neural tube defects in the baby. These are birth defects of the brain, skull and spinal cord. Levels of the amino acid homocystine are elevated when folic acid is low.

Women, especially those who intend to get pregnant, should eat a healthy, well balanced diet and take supplements with folic acid. Since 1998 when FDA regulations caused manufacturers to replace the folic acid lost in the processing of grains, neural tube defects have decreased by about 25% nationwide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.