Update on folic acid and disease prevention

Folic acid is highly effective for prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) when administered in the first trimester of pregnancy and the benefits are linearly related to plasma folate levels. Folic acid also lowers plasma homocysteine that has been linked with risk of stroke. However, the effects of different folic acid fortification types on NTD prevalence and stroke are uncertain. This presentation will review current folic acid fortification policies and their relevance for NTD and stroke prevention.

Robert Clarke is a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Clinical Trial Service Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford.