Folic Acid to Prevent Neural Tube Defects: Success and Controversies

  • Philippe De WalsEmail author
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


This chapter contains the story of folic acid (FA) food fortification in Canada. The first section describes the context in which the decision was made to pass a regulation requiring flour producers to fortify a wide range of products with the aim of preventing neural tube defects. In Part II, the results of impact studies are described: increase in dietary intake, improvement in folate status, and reduction in the frequency of neural tube defects and possibly other congenital anomalies, cardiovascular disease, and some pediatric cancers. The difficulties involved in studying the adverse effects of fortification are discussed. Finally, three current controversies are summarized: the folic acid recommendation for women of childbearing age, increasing FA fortification levels, and fortifying food with vitamin B12.


Fortification Folic acid Congenital anomalies Cardiovascular diseases Cancers Canada 



Folic acid


Neural tube defect


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineLaval University, CRIUCPQQuebec CityCanada

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