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The government is currently reviewing the results of a recent consultation on plans to fortify flour and bread in the UK with folic acid. While this could significantly reduce neural tube defects in foetuses, it may have additional health implications, both positive and negative. This meeting will review these issues, discuss the genetic factors at play, whether other vitamins and minerals should be under consideration for food fortification and explore the field of human fertility issues in light of the proposal.

Folic acid fortification of flour and bread will significantly reduce neural tube defects in foetuses by raising folate levels in women who could become pregnant but this may have additional health implications, both positive and negative. The RSM will look at how we should accommodate this change in policy, the issues raised by folic acid fortification, how these issues impact various medical disciplines and discuss whether other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 or essential fatty acids, should be under consideration for food fortification.

The event will also explore genetic factors, a new aspect of preconception medicine. Speakers will discuss how genetic variants determine differences in how individuals metabolise folic acid, especially those referred for assisted conception, and how they can be successfully managed.

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