SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news

 

 

Fortification successful for ‘near-elimination’ of folic acid anemia

By Stephen DANIELLS , 27-Aug-2013
Last updated on 27-Aug-2013 at 17:22 GMT2013-08-27T17:22:40Z

More than 70 countries fortify industrially milled wheat flour, maize products and/or rice with folic acid

More than 70 countries fortify industrially milled wheat flour, maize products and/or rice with folic acid

Mandatory fortification of select cereal grains with folic acid has led to the ‘near eradication’ of folate-deficiency anemia, says a new study.

Nutritional anemia is reported to account for about 33% of all anemia in the elderly US population, with folate deficiency alone accounting for 6.4% of anemia, with a further 5% linked to folate in combination with another nutrient deficiency.

The introduction of folic acid fortification of flour in the US in 1998 aimed at reducing the incidence of neural tube defects in infants has also been successful in practically eradicating this folate deficiency anemia, according to results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition .

Wide-ranging benefits

More than 70 countries fortify industrially milled wheat flour, maize products and/or rice with folic acid, according to data from the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI). A meta-analysis published in 2010 showed an overall 46% reduction in neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly in countries where wheat flour was fortified with this B vitamin.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed the prevention of neural tube defects through flour fortification amongst its list of 10 great health achievements  in the US for the last decade.

Commenting independently on the new study, Scott J. Montgomery, Director of the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI), said: “While we know that fortifying cereal grains with folic acid is an effective strategy for reducing the prevalence of these serious birth defects, this study confirms that fortification is also good for other population groups.”

Study details

Scientists from Emory University, University of Vermont, the CDC, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham assessed the prevalence of folate deficiency and folate-deficiency anemia using data from 1,546 people participating in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort.

The data showed that only two of the participants were folate deficient, defined as blood folate levels less than 6.6 nmol/L (3.0 ng/mL). while only one of these people was also considered anemic, defined as a hemoglobin levels less than 13 g/dL in men and less than 12 g/dL in non-pregnant women. This was equivalent to folate-deficiency anemia prevalence of less than 0.1%.

“Although other factors such as increased supplement use and perhaps improved nutrition may have contributed to a decline in folate-deficiency anemia, reductions in both the prevalence of folate deficiency and folate-deficiency anemia are an added benefit of mandatory flour fortification,” wrote the researchers.

“In addition to preventing spina bifida and anencephaly, mandatory folic acid fortification has contributed to the near elimination of folate deficiency and folate-deficiency anemia in individuals aged around 50 years.

“Thus, regulators in countries around the world considering folic acid fortification need to take into account the benefits of mandatory folic acid fortification on both newborns in preventing NTDs and in older adults in preventing folate-deficiency anemia.”

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.059683
“Near-elimination of folate-deficiency anemia by mandatory folic acid fortification in older US adults: Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study 2003–2007”
Authors: O.A. Odewole, R.S. Williamson, N.A. Zakai, R.J. Berry, S.E. Judd, Y.P. Qi, D.A. Adedinsewo, G.P. Oakley Jr

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars