Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 173705, 4 pages
Review Article

Folic Acid Supplementation for Women of Childbearing Age versus Supplementation for the General Population: A Review of the Known Advantages and Risks

1College of Arts and Sciences, Loyola University, Chicago, IL 60660, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received 31 December 2010; Accepted 29 March 2011

Academic Editor: Shobha S. Rao

Copyright © 2011 Nikhil Shelke and Louis Keith. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper focuses on the current best-evidence-based clinical practices and controversies surrounding folic acid supplementation/fortification for the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) during early pregnancy. The paper also discusses the controversies surrounding the effect of folic acid on the prevention as well as the promotion of cancer. Sufficient data is available to safely conclude that folic acid reduces the risk of NTDs during pregnancy; however, a safe dosage has not yet been calculated for the rest of the population. More research is necessary to study the complete role of folic acid in human growth and development.