Americans Urged To Consume More Folic Acid

vitamins--folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12--listed in the AHA's Science advisory is "ready-to-eat fortified cereals."

"Since a significant proportion of the population does not meet the current Daily Value for folate intake, a reasonable population approach is to recommend an increase in the intake of foods containing those vitamins, i.e. ready-to-eat fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, fruits and legumes," said the AHA Science Advisory.

Folic acid from cereal grain products is more readily absorbed than naturally occurring folate found in fruits and vegetables, which lose vitamin content after storage and cooking, the AHA said. "Prolonged heating or boiling followed by discarding of water or microwave heating may reduce folate content of food," said the Science Advisory.

Sources of folic acid include: Total cereal with 400 micrograms (100 percent of the Daily Value); lentils with 180 micrograms; kidney beans with 115; soybean nuts with 120; asparagus and spinach with 130; and broccoli with 40. High levels of blood homocysteine are present in an estimated 20 million Americans or more than one of every three people with cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine is an amino acid that circulates in the blood much like cholesterol. Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 help break down homocysteine. Homocysteine seems to damage artery walls and precipitate plaque build-up.

The American Heart Association has been reviewing mounting evidence of the connection between homocysteine and cardiovascular disease for almost two years and felt it needed to make a statement to doctors now since clinical studies will not be completed for another four to seven years, according to Rene Malinow, M.D., lead author of the Science Advisory.

Dr. Malinow of the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland is a world-renowned scientist and leading researcher on the topic of homocysteine. He is joined in authorship of the AHA Science Advisory by Andrew Bostom, M.D., Memorial

Contact: Tom Johnson
General Mills

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