The word is out about folic acid, but so is the jury. A new study shows that Americans' average levels of folic acid have doubled since fortification of grain products became mandatory in the U.S. in 1998. But the study's researchers are questioning the consequences of those very levels.
In September, the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the national Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition joined to launch an initiative to spread the word about the need for daily folic acid intake, targeting women who could become pregnant. That same month, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition asked "How can we better understand the effects of these chronic levels of circulating folic acid?" Lead author Renee Kalmbach wrote, "The biochemical and physiologic consequences of this are unknown, but these findings highlight the need to understand the effects of chronic exposure to circulating folic acid." If it's possible to have too much of a good thing, now's the time to find out.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 10