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ORAC
12th Dec 2006, 08:53
What do you think? We already have flouride in the water, albeit for the benefit of more than a few hundred. The USA does it, but to they add flouride?

So, a good thing, or more imposition by the nanny state? Is the state justified in making mandatory those things they think are good for us, or should they be limited to only forbidding those that are harmful?


Daily Mail: (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=421706&in_page_id=1770) All loaves of bread will be treated with vitamins under controversial plans which have been condemned as "medication of the masses."

A Government-commissioned report is this week expected to back the compulsory fortification of flour with folic acid to prevent babies being born with spina bifida.

bigfatsweatysock
12th Dec 2006, 09:40
Well if the Daily Mail says so it must be bad. :ugh:

tony draper
12th Dec 2006, 09:45
Old Uncle Hugh used to work in a flour mill,he told me they used to blast chlorine gas through the flour as a whitening agent, they might still do that for all we know,anyway tiz one's concidered opinion that white bread is only fit for toasting or frying.
:uhoh:

Grainger
12th Dec 2006, 10:05
ORAC; They used to mix flour and water to make wallpaper paste, so if you put flouride in the water you'd just end up with a gungy mess.

flybywire
12th Dec 2006, 10:55
you can already buy bread with added Omega 3....:rolleyes:

tony draper
12th Dec 2006, 11:08
Isn't Omega 3 one of those substances unknown to science made up by the advertizing industry,
such as Florowrinkletakawayclasofolicateclumide?
:uhoh:

flybywire
12th Dec 2006, 12:04
Hahahahahaha!!! I am no nutritionist but I'd have thought Omega 3 are fatty acids that you can find in fatty oily fish such as salmon, which is why it makes sense to see them appearing in bread!!:uhoh:

Anyone ever seen the omega3-enriched milk on supermarket shelves yet? :yuk:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
12th Dec 2006, 12:53
I was under the impression that flouride in drinking water was a universal benefit - unles you were a dentist I suppose :=

Huck
12th Dec 2006, 13:40
Mandrake... Have you ever heard of - flouridation?

http://www.vafilm.com/1995/images/strangelove.gif


http://www.miracosta.cc.ca.us/home/gfloren/ripper_anim.gif

gingernut
12th Dec 2006, 13:50
They've been putting stuff like that in your cornflakes for years.

An argument against adding folic acid, is that we are "medicating the masses," (Although folic acid is a supplement, not strictly a medicine). Having said that, I'm not aware of any risks associated with fortifying food in this way, (there are some unrobust links made to nerve damage), but the benefits, for a few people, are potentially immense.



Spina Bifida is a pretty 'orrid disease- hopefully fortifying bread in this way may cut down the number of cases per year, and its probably better for you than the usual crap (sugar, salt and fat), which is added to most foods.

Huck
12th Dec 2006, 14:23
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Lord, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?

General Jack D. Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.

General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.

arcniz
12th Dec 2006, 17:01
Having said that, I'm not aware of any risks associated with fortifying food in this way

Folic acid is particularly beneficial to women in early pregnancy. Given that, it might be more appropriate to add it as a fortification to pickles.

The idea of dosing the general public with additives that clearly benefit only a select few is dubious, at best. Taken to the extreme, it could make a few centuries worth of new medical mysteries, from unintended but ever so subtle effects played out over lifetimes.

Folks with genetic history originating around the eastern North Atlantic have higher risk for haemochromatosis - too much iron in the blood - which leads to organ deterioration and is cured only by persistent bloodletting. Folic acid supports more vigorous formation of red blood cells, thickening the blood and sometimes increasing BP dramatically. The intersection of FA, HC, and BP quite possibly puts increased risk of circulatory system failure on persons with HC-supportive genes.

Everything of this sort is an experiment. Time will tell.

MadsDad
12th Dec 2006, 17:32
Various things have been added to bread for quite a long time (currently include Iron and B-vitamins according to Google). I remember a fuss because the law was changed a few years ago so something that had been added to bread since the war no longer had to be. Can't remember what though and can't find it in Google.

(Also, Arcniz, if Folic Acid is especially beneficial during pregnancy it would be better served as a binary agent, one half in pickles (as you said) the other in bananas).

Tricky Woo
12th Dec 2006, 17:37
Good lord, d'you mean the cheap rotters haven't added it to bread already? The basturds promised to do this years ago! No wonder the birth rate's falling!

Been reading up on RTG generators like wot they put into deepish space probes (Voyager, Pioneer, etc). Generates electricity directly through the Seebeck Effect, i.e. via thermocouples. No nasty turbines, in fact no moving parts at all. Only about 10% efficient, but can last 40 years or more.

The subject of the distributed generation of electricity has been on my mind of late. This thread seemed as good a place to discuss it. Any takers?

TW

gingernut
12th Dec 2006, 17:49
Arcniz, take your point, it is difficult to design experiments to demonstrate benefit one way or another, and I guess the boys at DoH HQ have used some sort of risk benefit vs risk calculation.

Anecedotaly, the few times I've seen haemochromatosis, it's been as a result of excess alcohol consumption, but then I guess I havn't been looking at folic acid consumption.

Be interesting to see what happens when were all eating folic acid butties.

frostbite
12th Dec 2006, 18:01
Next it will be bromide in the water.

Huck
12th Dec 2006, 19:15
Been reading up on RTG generators

Good goodelly woo! Half of britain's bobbies running around with geiger counters, sniffing under sushi rolls for signs of Russian assasin powder, and you want to put reactors in everyone's homes?????

I tell you though, I flew with a captain a few months ago who was really into alternative energy for the home, i.e. wind and solar. Some marvellous systems out on the market now.....

MadsDad
12th Dec 2006, 19:45
Frostbite.

You mean they haven't already?

rugmuncher
12th Dec 2006, 19:52
Before you know it they'll be banning Vegemite and Marmite in the US because of the folic content !

Oooops,, De ja vu !

Thread link possible !
:suspect:

Tricky Woo
12th Dec 2006, 20:35
Hmm, what to do? Do I add to this thread, or do I go to the Shoe size/knob size thread?

Hmm... so many useless threads about these days, it's hard to decide which one to digress on. Choices choices.

TW

obgraham
12th Dec 2006, 22:30
Why does this get folks' dander up? Adding some folic acid (a VITAMIN, for those who dote on such things) can significantly improve pregnancy outcomes, with no downside. The folate intake must be before conception for the result to be there. We already add stuff to all sorts of food: check your labels. Should we stop adding vitamin D to milk?

tony draper
12th Dec 2006, 22:33
Adding LySergic acid Diethylamide would be more interesting.:rolleyes:

gingernut
14th Dec 2006, 07:21
Why does this get folks' dander up?

Cos we care:)

Albeit sometimes misguidedly:)

arcniz
14th Dec 2006, 07:39
Why does this get folks' dander up? Adding some folic acid (a VITAMIN, for those who dote on such things) can significantly improve pregnancy outcomes, with no downside. The folate intake must be before conception for the result to be there. We already add stuff to all sorts of food: check your labels. Should we stop adding vitamin D to milk?

Not sure I have standing to respond... dander not being up... but:

a) there's more than one way to flatten a cat.... dosing the food supply of all humanity is a bit of an overkill in re pumping some folic acid into pre-preggies and intra-same.

b) bet you a couple of tall ones that no studies exist which really establish no negative public health effect of incremental folic acid doses in the general population... (as distinct from positive bennies to pop of pre-preg broads)

so..... All bread might be overreaching a bit..

Why not spend a penny to factor a class of bread products into really specific public health target groups... 'bread for bunnies' .. 'pain pour poufters'... etc.? The mind waffles.

Blacksheep
14th Dec 2006, 07:45
Folic acid supports more vigorous formation of red blood cells, thickening the blood and sometimes increasing BP dramatically.Ah-hah! So its an antidote to the aspirin and metaprolol that my physician insists I pump into my blood every day and which has preserved me for sixteen years since the very thin man on a white horse paid me a visit?

Fortunately for me, his scythe needed sharpening and he couldn't cut it...

We'll have to buy one of those bread making machines and bake our own bread now, I suppose. I don't think Mrs BS is in the slightest danger of producing a Spina Bifida sufferer.

arcniz
14th Dec 2006, 08:09
Ah-hah! So its an antidote to the aspirin and metaprolol that my physician insists I pump into my blood every day and which has preserved me for sixteen years since the very thin man on a white horse paid me a visit?
Fortunately for me, his scythe needed sharpening and he couldn't cut it...
We'll have to buy one of those bread making machines and bake our own bread now, I suppose. I don't think Mrs BS is in the slightest danger of producing a Spina Bifida sufferer.



Have done that m'self since '84... and not them baby aspirin, either. Nothing like microbleeding to keep the pipes flushed... and the antiinflammatory quality is ....priceless.

MIL gave mine a Zojiroushi (phonetic sp) bread maker a while back.. has been a major hit, both for entertainment and as bread factory. Some very good tings from it, without the usual hassle. Go for it.. and throw in some folic acid along the way. Not the worst thing one can swallow. The discount way to erythropoietin supplementation, in case you want to cheat slightly on the local footrace.. Probably won't buy all that much at sea level.... but you could gain some headway in Katmandu.

Choxolate
14th Dec 2006, 08:27
Not being an expert on these matters does folic acid have its beneficial effect before or after conception? If after, then issue folic acid FOC at ante-natal clinics if before let 'em buy them from the pharmacist - rather than continuously dose the whole population continuously without its consent.

arcniz
14th Dec 2006, 08:43
Choxolate Not being an expert on these matters does folic acid have its beneficial effect before or after conception? If after, then issue folic acid FOC at ante-natal clinics if before let 'em buy them from the pharmacist - rather than continuously dose the whole population continuously without its consent.

Well...it really is about the interests of the larger society vs the interests of the individual. Unlike pilots, women about to flirt with pregnancy generally do not refer to 'all available information' before getting on with it. Notwithstanding that, the chemical cause-effect relationship inexorably has effect. So, the black-white trade-off is whether to allow simple folk, doing simple things, to stumble into natural traps from which no exit is possible, or to help them through the heavy 'hidden hand' of public policy. And the discussion here is how heavy must the hand be to do the job adequately.

Given the 'civilised world' is mostly producing babies at below the replacement rate, many old farts reasonably wish to do everything possible to improve the quality of obtainable results. More babies.. better babies.. raah!

Solid Rust Twotter
14th Dec 2006, 08:45
Wasn't Vegemite banned from Yankistan recently because it contained folic acid?


Unless one's head bone is just getting feeble....:confused:

Choxolate
14th Dec 2006, 08:57
Notwithstanding that, the chemical cause-effect relationship inexorably has effect.
Pre- or Post- conception? Quite important question with relevance to this thread that is still unanswered.

ORAC
14th Dec 2006, 08:59
Yes - for commercial import - Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/vegemite.asp).

But it as a mandatory additive in bread in the USA - NUTRAusa: (http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news-by-health/news.asp?id=66878&idCat=127&k=fsa-recommends-mandatory)

"Spina bifida and anencephaly are the most common NTDs. Both conditions occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, often before women are aware that they are expecting. It is estimated that between 700 and 900 pregnancies are affected by NTDs in the UK each year including terminations as a result of detection but not including miscarriages........

Mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid is already in place in several countries, including the US, Canada, and Chile. A 30 to 50 percent reduction in NTDs has been seen in these countries since fortification began......

gingernut
14th Dec 2006, 15:31
Before, at, and 12 weeks after conception.

no studies exist which really establish no negative public health effect of incremental folic acid doses in the general population

I'm intrigued- how would you design such a study, and then translate its findings to something clinically useful.

Mac the Knife
14th Dec 2006, 19:47
Anecedotaly, the few times I've seen haemochromatosis, it's been as a result of excess alcohol consumption....

Anecdotally, you must have seen a very odd subset, for mutations of the HFE gene account for 90% of the cases*.

Alcohol increases iron absorption, but alone won't give you haemochromatosis. Both chronic alcohol abuse and haemochromatosis cause liver disease.

Bantu siderosis actually seems to be caused by polymorphism in the ferroportin gene in the affected populations, not drinking beer brewed in iron pots (pity, I loved that story!).

*[the TfR2 (transferrin receptor 2) autosomal dominant and the SLC11A3/ferroportin 1 gene account for most of the rest]

As for the folic acid story, the CDC has a fairly authoritative summary at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5113a1.htm

Basically, "NTD rates have declined by approximately 20-30% since the institution of folic acid-fortified cereal grains..". This isn't quite as much as would be expected "if all women of reproductive age were to consume 400 g of folic acid/day", but it's pretty substantial.

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is pretty non-toxic and occurs naturally* (eat your spinach!). You'd have to eat any awful lot of 40mcg tablets to reach the toxic dose of 15mg which can cause "..stomach problems, sleep problems, skin reactions, and seizures". And then you just pee out the excess.

I've treated quite a lot of kids with spina bifida (a lot don't make it to adulthood) and it's a pretty miserable condition for all concerned. While I'm generally against people forcing things on me that they think are good for me, the evidence that folic acid supplementation is a GOOD THING in vulnerable populations is unarguable, so this seems reasonable.

Nevertheless, I'd like to know what the current folate intake of the target group is NOW. If it is above the 400 g RDA already then this step is just more feelgood government hand-waving (and a waste of time/money). Folate deficiency is not the only cause of neural-tube defects so dosing everyone with folate will not eliminate NTD.

:ok:

*liver, lentils, rice germ, brewer's yeast, soy flour, black-eyed peas, navy beans, kidney beans, peanuts, spinach, turnip greens, lima beans, whole wheat, and asparagus.

Mac the Knife
14th Dec 2006, 20:05
no studies exist which really establish no negative public health effect of incremental folic acid doses in the general population...

As gingernut politely implies, it is essentially impossible to prove the negative case.

Can you prove that the use of soft toilet paper is NOT responsible for antisocial behaviour?

No? Then lets go back to IZAL!

ORAC
14th Dec 2006, 21:32
So, look at the evidence so far, it looks like a relatively benign addition which with no great down side. No Big Brother, just a good medical decision. OK, go for it. :ok:

gingernut
14th Dec 2006, 21:37
Anecdotally, you must have seen a very odd subset, for mutations of the HFE gene account for 90% of the cases

Yep, 'fraid to say population size = 1 :bored: :}

It may have been 2 :-)

Blacksheep
15th Dec 2006, 04:40
but you could gain some headway in Katmandu.I worked in Kathmandu for a while. It was the food that plugged the final gap in my Left Anterior Descending coronary artery. Good Lord, I've never eaten so well in my life as up there, but that's where the BP problem began. It was the Canadian Clinic that found it, but too late... God Bless the Canadians, anyway. :ok:

I digress, thanks for the advice on the breadmaker arcniz, but as its the flour that'll be dosed, it seems I can't avoid taking my aspirin and metoprolol anti-dote by baking my own bread anyhow. :(

Mac the Knife
15th Dec 2006, 11:37
So, look at the evidence so far, it looks like a relatively benign addition which with no great down side. No Big Brother, just a good medical decision. OK, go for it. :ok:

Did you read my qualifier?

"Nevertheless, I'd like to know what the current folate intake of the target group is NOW. If it is above the 400 g RDA already then this step is just more feelgood government hand-waving (and a waste of time/money). Folate deficiency is NOT the only cause of neural-tube defects so dosing everyone with folate will NOT eliminate NTD."

It would be nice to know.

flybywire
17th Dec 2006, 15:34
Pre- or Post- conception? Quite important question with relevance to this thread that is still unanswered.

It is most beneficial at the earliest stages of pregnancy, when the woman is unaware that she's already pregnant. That's why doctors advise women trying for a baby to take 400µg of folic acid every day from the moment they start trying for a baby and they are advised to keep taking it until the foetus is around 10weeks old (12 weeks gestation from LMP).

I have been told by many doctors though that if a woman is unsuccessful within 12 months then she should take a break from the supplements. On the box of my pills it says that you can go for 12 months without suffering side effects or negative long-term effects. It doesn't specify what negative effects could be brought by a continuous use of folic acid supplements for long periods of time though but it does say that, unlike vitamin C, you can actually store folate in your system.
As for BP...I had very low BP before I got pregnant and I still do, despite having taken the supplement for the first 3 months of this pregnancy and having started again now after a 3 month break, so it definitely has no influence on me.:hmm:

Folate is already present in most brands' cereal in large quantities, so I do not see why they should add it to bread?
Bread loaves have got so much :mad: in them that a bit of folic acid won't necessarily make them healthier for you. The cons of the hydrogenated oils and various agents are far more than the good effects of folate.
The solution might be to just ditch the squared c:mad: p and start buying some proper bread...the crispy one that you can buy in bakeries that, like all good bread, goes hard after a couple of days and doesn't go soggy and green after a week instead :yuk:

FBW:)

G-CPTN
17th Dec 2006, 15:50
The risk of toxicity from folic acid is low. The Institute of Medicine has established a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for folate of 1,000 µg for adult men and women, and a UL of 800 µg for pregnant and lactating (breast-feeding) women less than 18 years of age. Supplemental folic acid should not exceed the UL to prevent folic acid from masking symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Anyone recall the recommendation in the early 70s that pregnant and putative-pregnant women should avoid potatoes, particularly those with blemishes or damaged during harvesting? Daughter-in-law (newly pregnant) hasn't heard of (or been told) of this 'scare'.

A search of Googoo has also refreshed my memory that it was a fear of spina bifida around 1973-4 that prompted this warning about 'blighted' potatoes. It seems that specific research found no basis for this belief:-

The Committee considered data regarding the hypothesis that the ingestion of damaged potatoes in early pregnancy can result in spina bifida in the offspring and have observed that 13 investigations have failed to demonstrate such a link. The Committee concluded that the consumption of blighted potatoes in pregnancy was not associated with neural tube defects in offspring.
http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/toxicity/chap-1b.htm

For reasons that no one yet understands, spina bifida for years has been more prevalent in Ireland than anywhere else in the world. At one time, it was thought that blighted potatoes might contain a substance causing spina bifida, but experiments in which potatoes were entirely avoided proved this theory false. Although women in the study refrained from eating potatoes, they still had a higher than normal incidence of babies born with spina bifida - five times greater than anywhere else in the world.
http://www.tmc.edu/tmcnews/06_01_99/page_04.html

Mac the Knife
17th Dec 2006, 19:00
"...unlike vitamin C, you can actually store folate in your system."

Well, only a bit. They're both water soluble vitamins and you can't store much. Reserves rather than stores.

"Vitamin C is stored throughout body tissues and blood. Ascorbic acid content of blood components, fluid, and tissue varies widely on an individual basis. Tissue concentrations exceed those found in the plasma by three to ten times. Energy-driven transport pumps are responsible for the higher tissue concentrations of vitamin C versus the plasma. Both tissue and plasma levels of vitamin C are correlated to intake up to 90 mg / day (13). The total body pool of vitamin C has been estimated, using radiolabeled isotopes, to a maximum of 20 mg/kg body weight."

Folic acid is absorbed in the proximal small intestine, and is reduced and methylated during absorption. 5-methyl-H4PteGlu is rapidly transported (bound to proteins) to liver-tissue uptake through receptor mediated endocytosis stored in polyglutamate form. Storage is more limited than B12, therefore quicker onset of symptoms when intake/absorption stops.

But my question remains unanswered!

flybywire
17th Dec 2006, 20:03
Mac, apologies for using a partially incorrect word, english isn't my first language and probably I am not aware of the subtle differences between words that appear very similar to me! :ouch:
As for your question....which one, the folate one or the one re. soft toilet paper? :E

G-CPTN....I have been told to avoid eating green-looking potatoes and the spoilt ones (tesco value anyone?) which I have never done anyway.
There's an excellent book for mums with bumps around called "What to expect when you're expecting" it tells you all you need to know and much more, there's a very comprehensive guide on what's safe to eat and what it's best to eat. I have been having a few probs with low hemoglobin count and found that their advice for fighting anaemia with food was priceless, I feel much better now and my Ferratin has gone up already. Maybe it could be an idea for a Xmas pressie for your daughter in law ;)

Don't scare the poor girl with what is safe and what is not, we get enough pressure by doctors, midwives and stupid work colleagues (and the stupid press) as it is, ok!! :ok:

FBW

G-CPTN
17th Dec 2006, 20:16
I was surprised that my son's wife (who ENJOYED her wine) stopped drinking alcohol completely when they started to try for a baby. Apparently in France (she's French) this is a major recommendation. It was this abstinence that drew the attention of her work colleagues to her 'possible' pregnancy long before she announced it.

Green potatoes (or at least the skins thereof) ARE adjudged to be poisonous.
The greenish hue is actually chlorophyll, but it is also an indicator that an alkaloid, called solanine, may be present under the skin of the potato. Solanine develops in potatoes when they are stored in the presence of light (which also encourages chlorophyll formation) and either at very cold or quite warm temperatures. It is toxic, however it would take a very large number of green potatoes to make you ill.
Since solanine collects just under the skin, it is safe to peel away the skin and a thin layer of white flesh before you cook the potato.
It is advisable that green or damaged potatoes are avoided by pregnant women or women who are likely to become pregnant, as there is some evidence of possible foetal damage or loss of the foetus from glycoalkaloid poisoning in animals.