Nutrition experts call for folic acid fortification

A group of three nutritional experts have stressed importance of the UK government introducing mandatory folic acid fortification of flour and grains. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, or vitamin B9. Over 80 countries worldwide have already introduced mandatory folic acid fortification in an effort to combat birth defects and terminations where, in the US alone, it is thought that fortification has saved 1,300 children a year from death or a lifetime of disability.

The fact that the UK is yet to make folic acid fortification mandatory has been described by the scientists, as reported in NutraIngredients-USA, as “a missed public health opportunity”.

The team referenced in the article have argued that thousands of pregnancies have been terminated or resulted in the birth of children with Neural Tube Defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which could have been prevented if folic acid fortification had been universally introduced. Despite there being widespread promotion of the importance of folate and pregnancy supplements, data suggests that folate intake has actually declined, prompting concern amongst nutritionists.

Vitamin D’s role in infection prevention

Researchers at Oregon State University have carried out a new study looking into vitamin D’s role in infection prevention, as reported by ktvz.com. While it is known that vitamin D has an important role in the absorption of calcium, the maintenance of normal bones, and normal muscle function, this latest research begins to look at the role vitamin D could play in the body’s healing process.

The study examined the bioactive form of vitamin D and its role in promoting the body’s production of the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP), which is made by immune cells and cells that provide a barrier against infection such as the skin and gut cells.

The study found that vitamin D regulates the expression of the CAMP, leading to increased resistance to gut infections, and that the bioactive form of vitamin D significantly reduced the number of bacteria in the wound.

echinacea for anxiety

Could echinacea help support mood and lessen anxiety?

Scientists from Hungary have been evaluating the effect echinacea angustifolia root extract might have on anxiety and suggest that, when compared to a placebo in a double-blind trial, it could lead to significant improvements.

The study, which was covered in this NutraIngredients-USA article shows promising results with the researchers stating, “ the effect developed rapidly (within a few days) and was persistent as it did not vanish over the three weeks of washout.”

The study followed participants over a seven day period and found that those who received 80 mg of echinacea every day saw their anxiety scores decrease by approximately 11 points, compared to a decrease of just three points in the placebo group.

Despite these promising results, the authors of the study themselves have said that the sample size of the number of people enrolled in the study (64) was well below those generally accepted for studies on the efficacy of anxiolytic medications and that further trails would be required to support the validity of the findings.

Share your thoughts

Agree with the findings in this week’s Nutrition News? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.