New shocking report reveals that approximately 2,000 babies in the U.K. have suffered severe defects since 1998 due to the lack of folic acid in the flour. Every year 150 new cases appear, with babies presenting defects of the spinal cord, of the spine and of the brain.
It has been reported that all these cases could have been avoided if the U.K. would have followed the example of the 78 countries that added the vital vitamin to flour. Even though the Government advisers wrote about the need to add folic acid to flour in 2000, 2006 and 2009, no response came back. Last month they wrote to them again expressing their concern.
If U.K would have adopted the flour fortification policy like the U.S. did in 1998, a lot of deaths and neural defects could have been avoided. Since 1998 the cases of babies suffering from neural tube defects has decreased with 23%. The benefits of folic acid include enhanced fertility in men.
The neural tube defects can result in the death of the fetus, of the baby or in permanent disabilities for those who survive. The number of abortions caused by theses defects has been rising at an alarmingly fast pace in the last years with 299 in 2009, 390 in 2012 and 420 in 2013. From 1998 until 2012 approximately 1 pregnancy in 1,000 was affected by a tube defect and 81% of them ended in abortions. Because the government still hasn’t made a decision, women are required to take a 400 mcg dose of folic acid every day while trying to remain pregnant and to continue in the first three months of pregnancy. This will reduce the risks of neural tube defects like anencephaly and spine bifida.
Even though advised, over 70% of pregnant women don’t take folic acid in the first vital stages of the pregnancy or on a daily basis. The study shows that only 28% of British pregnant women take folic acid as indicated by doctors.
Because this method isn’t as efficient, the 2,000 babies affected by lack of folic acid being the living proof, doctors are calling for bread or flour fortification. Also, researchers believe that the benefits of the folic acid supplements need to be promoted more, especially for the sake of the pregnant women.
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