Folic Acid Continues in the News
J. M. Jones. College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN. Cereal Foods World 52(3):144-147.
The early history of folate seems a fitting prelude to the often-confusing role of folic acid in human nutrition and health today. For some of its functions, its role in the prevention of many conditions has been documented. Canada, the United States, and Hungary have recognized folate’s importance in the prevention of neural tube defects and have mandated the fortification of grain products. Other birth defects also appear to be lessened with adequate folic acid. Yet some countries have taken a more cautious view and are worried that elevated levels in the population can put segments of the population, such as the elderly, at risk. Further, its importance in protecting against other diseases is still the subject of much study and is nearly as confusing as some of its early history. This column highlights reports from recent months on the reduction of birth defects, the improvement of memory and hearing, and the reduction of cardiovascular disease and cancers, as well as some of the potential risks of excess folate intake. The article then goes on to detail how recent research seems to indicate that dietary fiber intake in premenopausal women may cut breast cancer risk. Finally, the article examines the effects that breakfast meal composition has on second-meal metabolic responses in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.