By 1998, the U.S. and Canada had put folate (i.e., folic acid or vitamin B9) in the U.S. grain supply: 1.4 mg per kilogram of grain.
Why? To prevent birth defects—specifically, neural tube defects by a whopping 25 percent, it turns out.
It has also helped to prevent death from strokes: 2.9 percent reduction since 1998, versus no change in the U.K. and Wales, which have not put folate in the grain supply.
How does it work?
Folate helps to repair and construct DNA—that’s how it seems to work to prevent neural tube defects.
And folate decreases homocysteine levels, which are probably worsen heart and brain disease. The right amount of folate appears to stop progression of carotid plaque—which stops blood flow to the brain.
Best foods for folate.