Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Study Suggests Folic Acid, Breast Cancer Link

But Folic Acid Has Huge Health Benefits, Experts Say

The Fortification Debate

The "decision making" Hall is referring to is the debate in the U.K. over whether to add folic acid to the food supply, as has been done in the U.S. and many other industrialized countries.

Folic acid was added to breads, cereals, flours, and other grain products in the U.S. in 1986. Since that time, neural tube-related birth defects, such as spina bifida, have declined by 26%, according to the CDC.

Government research also suggests that fortification is responsible for preventing as many as 31,000 deaths from stroke each year. High levels of a substance called homocysteine in the blood increase the risk of stroke, and folic acid helps bring that level down.

"It is a real tragedy -- a huge public policy failure -- that fortification has not happened in [the U.K.], and the danger is that this study will influence that debate," Oakley says.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Oakley wrote that mandatory fortification "should be immediately implemented for the known benefits of preventing birth defects and anemia."

Though she acknowledges that fortification may benefit the public as a whole, Hall says the unanswered questions about the potential long-term risks of folic acid supplementation need to be explored.

"I think policy should be made on the basis of all the information that is available, and that would include this study," she says.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow