Babies born to mothers who consume too little folate early in their pregnancies are at high risk of neural tube abnormalities, which can be devastating birth defects of the brain or spine. To reduce this risk, the Food and Drug Administration mandated that as of 1998, U.S. manufacturers had to fortify grain-based foods with folic acid, the stable form of this B vitamin. A new analysis now attributes a roughly 25 percent drop in neural tube defects to the change.
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