Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Folic Acid may cut premature births by 70%

Breaking research has revealed that taking folic acid supplements for a year before pregnancy can reduce the risk of premature births by 70% as well as saving thousands of lives.

Recent research based on 40,000 women found that one in three babies born under 28 weeks die, with a large number of those that survive facing lifelong disability. The new revelation supports the established recommendation that women who are planning to have a family should also take folic acids supplements to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, including disabilities such as spina bifida.

Tim Draycott, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists supports the findings in saying that “premature births are a tremendous burden on the babies, their families and society… Anything that is potentially beneficial and particularly something as safe as folic acid… we would welcome as an intervention.”

In addition, reducing the number of premature births would also ease the burden on the NHS, with current annual costs of caring for premature babies at £420 million ion the UK alone. The Food Standards Agency supports the positive research on taking Folic Acid as a food supplement, suggesting that not only should women planning to have a family take dietary supplements of folic acid, there is also potential for more foods to be fortified with folic acid.

Source: The Guardian, Jan 2008

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