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Blood folate levels; the latest NHANES results
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    "Folate is an essential vitamin for good health. Women of childbearing age are among the population subgroups that have been shown previously to have low blood folate levels. Low blood folate levels are associated with an increased risk of neural tube birth defects. Beginning in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the addition of folic acid (a form of folate) to all enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meal, pasta products, rice, and other cereal grain products sold in the United States. Blood folate data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) have documented improvements in the folate status of the U.S. population after folate fortification was implemented. Red blood cell (RBC) folate measures long-term folate intake and low levels are associated with adverse health effects. Serum folate reflects recent folate intake and low levels are an early indicator of inadequate folate status. Pre- and postfortification blood folate levels of the U.S. population 4 years of age and older and prevalence of low blood folate among women of childbearing age (15-45 years) are reported." - p. 1

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