National Recommendations For Folic Acid Vary

“No wonder consumers across Europe are confused,” says the EURRECA Network of Excellence partner, for who the study was completed, Professor Lisette de Groot, from the University of Wageningen and one of the authors of the Survey. “Individual countries convene expert panels and review their national guidance on recommendations for micronutrients at different times, which means they are often not working with the same or most up-to-date scientific information. This results in national recommendations being out of ‘sync’ with each other.

“To add further confusion, nations use different standards and definitions when making their recommendations. For example, some group all adults together and provide one recommendation; others provide separate recommendations for men and women. Age groupings for babies and children also vary. Folic acid is a good example of wide variation in recommendations in official guidance, due mainly to the fact that scientific knowledge on this micronutrient has increased dramatically in recent years.”

“In the case of folic acid, discrepancies exist between state-of the-art scientific opinion and the standard nutrient recommendations in government reports,” says EURRECA partner Professor Helene McNulty from University of Ulster, an expert on folic acid.

“Scientists now universally agree that women of child-bearing age wishing to become pregnant should aim at an extra 400mcg of folic acid a day to combat neural tube defects in their babies. Many standard national documents do not include this specific recommendation as currently they only include recommendations for non-pregnant women and pregnant women – not for ‘hoping to be pregnant women’.”

The EURRECA network, involving 34 organisations in 17 countries, has been established and funded by the European Commission to address these discrepancies and work towards a framework of harmonised advice on micronutrients.; Source: EURRECA