Folic acid deficit increased risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy

Low levels of folic acid in plasma have been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage in a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association lately. On the other hand, no connection was found between high levels of folic acid and increased risk of miscarriage.

In the US folic acid is added to flour to prevent pregnant women from developing a deficit of folic acid. Previous studies have shown that both deficits and surpluses of folic acid can heighten the risk of miscarriage. In Sweden today there is no folic acid additive in foodstuffs.

“The result of our study can provide another piece of the puzzle for the Swedish National Food Agency to take into consideration. Those countries that add folic acid to foods can continue to do so,” says Professor Sven Cnattingius at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

The findings show that miscarriages were more common among older women, smokers, and well-educated women. Miscarriages were also more frequent among individuals with a high level of consumption of coffee and alcohol, and among those have had previous miscarriages. When adjustments were made for these factors, the risk of having a miscarriage was 50 percent higher in the group with low levels of folic acid in their plasma.

The study measured plasma levels of folic acid in 468 women who had miscarriages between weeks 6 and 12. The levels tested were compared with 921 control individuals who were in the same week of pregnancy. All individuals included were also interviewed using a questionnaire. The study was carried out at Uppsala University Hospital “Akademiska” between 1996 and 1998

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